Faenza, Italy, 2001-12-08 - Paul Stoddart, Team Principal of the Italian-based Formula One team Minardi, announced today that the name of the team has changed to KL Minardi Asiatech for the 2002 season to strengthen the deep link to Malaysia and to promote Kuala Lumpur as a world city.
Paul Stoddart met in Kuala Lumpur with Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad who said "This is the next stage in our strategy to promote Malaysia to the world, with Kuala Lumpur as the gateway and using motorsport as a primary vehicle. We have enjoyed marked success in building the awareness and image of our country through various racing-related programs since 1995. Now we are turning to motorsport again to assist in direct development of inward investment by creating a platform for Malysian companies, destinations and events to reach potential customers around the world."
Paul Stoddart expressed his personal satisfaction, too. "We will work on a four-year program to share equal opportunities for kids of tomorrow to see their talents in F1,‰ he said. „Perhaps now they don?t have a chance but we will have a program to see that they are given a chance."
Paul Stoddart also confirmed that the 25-year-old Alex Yoong will officially drive for the KL Minardi Asiatech Team next season "As the first Malaysian F1 driver to make his debut in F1 with our team in the last three races of the 2001 F1 World Championship, Alex Yoong will have a full season with the team next year."
In preparation for the new season Alex is undergoing a special physical fitness training program which will allow him to face the first Australian F1 Grand Prix race in the best physical shape next March 3rd, 2002.
The team's new image will be unveiled in Kuala Lumpur next month while the new livery of the PS02 chassis is likely to be launched early February 2002.