Alex Yoong will be back in a race car for the next Grand Prix at Monza, Minardi boss Paul Stoddart confirmed in Belgium, providing all goes well in testing this week. Yoong has been working on physical training and will test in Italy along with Mark Webber and David Saelens. His stand in, Anthony Davidson, was on a two race deal and Stoddart was impressed with his performance.
"Alex will be back at Monza, but the team would like to thank Anthony for a job truly well done and I am sure we will see him again in Formula One," Stoddart said, adding he was interested in the British driver for next season. "Unfortunately, it was a two-race deal for Anthony and Alex Yoong will be back for Monza. But I wouldn't rule out Anthony driving for us next year -- he's certainly done enough to justify his place in F1."
Yoong, however, has failed to secure his seat at Minardi next year. Stoddart would like to keep hold of the Malaysian but not as a race driver: "Alex will be involved with us next year, but he won't be racing in Grands Prix," he said. "I'm a bit funny with drivers; once they've driven for me they kind of become a part of the family. If Alex can find something else that he wants to do then I'll help him with that too."
Mark Webber is thought to be moving to Jaguar next year, although it has yet to be confirmed, leaving Minardi with two seats to fill. American Bryan Herta and Brit Justin Wilson have been linked with a possible drive for 2003 as well as Davidson.