European Minardi F1 driver, Alex Yoong, claimed his place in the motor racing history books by becoming the first Malaysian driver to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship when he lined up on the grid for today's Italian Grand Prix....
European Minardi F1 driver, Alex Yoong, claimed his place in the motor racing history books by becoming the first Malaysian driver to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship when he lined up on the grid for today's Italian Grand Prix. The 25-year-old from Kuala Lumpur made a positive impression on his F1 debut, running strongly in 15th place for much of the race, immediately behind teammate, Fernando Alonso.
Unfortunately, Yoong's first race ended eight laps from the chequered flag, when he spun into the gravel trap at the first Lesmo corner after reporting his car was oversteering strongly. As usual, Alonso drove strongly, claiming 13th place at the chequered despite being slowed on his second scheduled pit stop when a rear wheel, which had not located correctly at the previous stop, proved difficult to remove.
European Minardi personnel, however, had every reason to be pleased with the performance at Monza, one of the fastest circuits currently visited by the Formula One teams, and now look forward to the final two races, at Indianapolis and Suzuka.
"We decided to start the race in the spare car, which was fitted with the older gearbox, simply for precautionary reasons, since we were not so confident about the new gearbox here at Monza following yesterday's problems. This penalised us slightly in terms of performance, but I tried to do my best in the race and, in the end, feel quite happy to have finished."
"I had a bit of a scare on the opening lap, when the front wing of Button's car flew off and hit my car. I slowed my pace for a couple of laps just to be certain that nothing was broken and, from that point on, I had quite a lot of oversteer, with the result that driving became pretty hard. I feel disappointed not to have finished the race, particularly since there were only a few laps left to the finish. I have really enjoyed my first Formula One race here in Monza and am now looking forward to the next Grand Prix in order to accumulate more track miles and get more experience at the wheel of the European Minardi F1 car."
"After what has been an eventful weekend for European Minardi F1, we are pleased with Fernando's 13th-place finish and the fact Alex, although not finishing the entire distance, ran as high as 15th for much of the race. He proved this weekend that he is worthy of his place at the top level of motor racing, Formula One. Despite a traumatic qualifying session, both drivers and team gave their all in this, one of their 'home' Grands Prix.
"It's important to note that Alex today justly earned his place in the history books as Malaysia's first-ever Formula One racing driver, but this has been made possible by the enormous encouragement of the Malaysian government -- a true supporter of Formula one -- and by companies like Magnum Corporation Berhad, which have provided financial support to allow Alex to fulfil his dream."