Alex Yoong Italian GP debut report

Monza, Italy - Saturday, 15th Sep 2001 - What a performance by Magnum sponsored Malaysian F1 driver, Alex Yoong, in this weekend's debut so far! It was a truly winning performance from this young Malaysian who won over the press with his ...

Monza, Italy - Saturday, 15th Sep 2001 - What a performance by Magnum sponsored Malaysian F1 driver, Alex Yoong, in this weekend's debut so far!

It was a truly winning performance from this young Malaysian who won over the press with his professional fielding of questions in the face of the world's top F1 journalists in the Thursday FIA Official Press Conference alongside Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. The general remarks from them were all positive. "Very mature", "Confident and impressive", "Good command of English and articulate", "An interviewer's dream" were some of the positive comments.

It was another winning performance when Alex won over his entire European Minardi team when he had qualified well within the 107% mark despite having to face the huge combined odds of not being able to run in the two practice sessions before qualifying due to gear box glitches, having to abandon on his first out-lap of qualifying, and then sharing a T-car which is not ideally set up to suit either driver and using the old gearbox.

These observations were reported to the Alex Yoong Press Office by Alex's manager, Simon Munger in Monza today.

"Alex could not have had a worse day than today (Saturday) for a person making his debut qualifying in Formula 1. Everything that could have happened to prevent him from qualifying happened. And yet he did it !" said Munger.

"It was very tricky and really touch and go." explained Alex. "But I cannot fail all the fans and Malaysians who turned up in Monza and all the Malaysians watching this qualifying live back home, can I ?"

"Without the practice runs in the morning, I had to find my braking points for the car in qualifying trim during qualifying itself and I also had to be careful not to push too hard and fail to deliver the car which we were sharing back to Alonso for him to get further up the field. I am glad I managed it. The team, our team sponsors including Magnum and every Malaysian deserved this result."

For the first time, Malaysian flags were hoisted at the spectator stands. There were no shortage of support for Alex. These included a contingent of close Alex Yoong friends, a group of Shell Malaysia's executives who travelled all the way from Malaysia as well as the Malaysian Ambassador to Italy, Dato' Shamsudin Abdullah and his family who came up to Monza from Rome. Also present in a significant force is the new breed of "Alex Yoong-Forza Minardi" fans who came from all over Europe and Malaysians working or studying in Europe.

Alex is also fast winning new fans quickly and this trend is bound to grow astronomically as Alex progresses over the next few races.

All of us here in Monza are rooting for Alex to have a good race on Sunday and we look forward to more good news tomorrow for all his fans worldwide in general and Malaysians and Asians back home in particular.

-AYR

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Alex Yoong
Teams Minardi