MONZA, ITALY, September 14, 2001 -- The eyes of the Grand Prix paddock were on the European Minardi F1 garage this morning as Alex Yoong powered onto the Monza circuit to become the first Malaysian driver to compete in the FIA Formula One World ...
MONZA, ITALY, September 14, 2001 -- The eyes of the Grand Prix paddock were on the European Minardi F1 garage this morning as Alex Yoong powered onto the Monza circuit to become the first Malaysian driver to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Clearly revelling in his arrival on the Grand Prix scene and motivated by the opportunity to represent his country at the very top level of motorsport, the 25-year-old from Kuala Lumpur drove in confident fashion. Despite losing time in the first session when an electrical problem caused his car to stop on the circuit, he went on to record a best lap of 1 min 28.250, just over three seconds off the fastest time set on Friday. Team mate, Fernando Alonso, was in his usual scintillating form, setting an excellent time of 1 min 26.972 secs while fine-tuning the handling of his car. Both drivers worked through a busy technical programme, including tyre comparisons, and provided much useful feedback to the team's engineers.
Position 17th Fastest lap 1 min 26.972 sec
"As usual, our first day of free practice was focused on trying to get the best chassis set-up and testing the tyres. Here in Monza, work on the aerodynamics is extremely important, too, and I believe tomorrow we should be able to achieve a good performance from the car. To finish 17th today seems to me a good result and, hopefully, I can either retain or improve on the position tomorrow in qualifying."
Position 22nd Fastest lap 1 min 28.250 sec
"It has been a good first day, even though I missed some of the first session in the morning when an electrical problem caused the engine to shut down. This afternoon, we were able to do some useful work. It was really important for me to get some laps in at a steady pace and, in the end, the time was not so bad. We also collected useful information for tomorrow."
Team Principal, European Minardi F1
"We're really pleased for Alex, who has done a highly respectable job in his first Formula One practice session, registering a best lap of 1 min 28.250 secs, which is only a little over 3.5 secs off the fastest time recorded today. As usual, Fernando's performance was exemplary and his quickest lap, a 1 min 26.972 secs, was excellent. The team now looks forward to an exciting day tomorrow, when we can build on the progress that has been made."