Yoong off-track duties

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Sunday, 7th Oct 2001 - For the second time in three grand prixs, Malaysia's Alex Yoong has been slotted into an official FIA grand prix press conference, this time on the Friday, 12th Oct of the final round Japanese Grand...

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Sunday, 7th Oct 2001 - For the second time in three grand prixs, Malaysia's Alex Yoong has been slotted into an official FIA grand prix press conference, this time on the Friday, 12th Oct of the final round Japanese Grand Prix and alongside Mika Hakkinen and H.H. Frentzen.

The Magnum Malaysia supported driver made the Thursday official press conference alongside Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in his debut grand prix in Italy a month ago.

During the past two grand prix weekends, Yoong's media calls were higher than normal mainly because of his status of being Malaysia's first and Asia's first non-Japanese F1 driver since Prince Bira of Thailand some 50 years ago.

Immediately after the USA GP, Yoong flew back to Malaysia and attended a two day Magnum roadshow at Penang. Then it's off to HongKong for a day where Malaysian Airlines will host a meet the press session. More than 50 printed media and 3 electronic media are expected to be present at the Holiday Inn in Tsimshatsui in Hong Kong at 4pm on the 8th of October.

Do all these off-tract duties affect his concentration ? "Not really, my management and the team have been quite good in scheduling these duties around my needs to eat or to train when I am away from the race car." Yoong quipped, "When I have to travel for these duties, they make sure that there is a gym at whatever hotel I am booked in. It's part of my job and I'll do it with pleasure."

"There is no denial that I cannot meet all requests as the time in between race and test duties is quite limited, really. And I cover these gaps through telephone interviews arranged by my team's press officer or my press office in Kuala Lumpur."

"For example, two media were trying to catch me when I was on my way back from the USA GP and they finally got me over the phone after I landed in Kuala Lumpur. One was a radio station from Melbourne, Australia and the other was the Minardi Fan Club based in Holland."

Despite Yoong saying that the pressure is acceptable, Yoong's personal management team which comprise his Manager, Simon Munger and his press office are mindful of not over crowding his schedule too much. "We genarally refer to Alex on who and which media, have made the request and whether he can do it especially when it involves a day's shoot by a TV broadcaster for example." said his press office spokesman.

"After the Japanese Grand Prix, Alex has a final round of off-track duties which include the final Magnum roadshow in Johore on the 19th and 20th of Oct, then the NHK TV shoot followed by a TAG Heuer track day at Sepang on the 22nd Oct. After that Alex will take a good break before getting into an intensive winter physical fitness training programme and preparation for his first full F1 season with the European Minardi F1 team which is expected to be announced before the end of October."

As was in the Monza Italian Grand Prix where Yoong made his F1 debut, the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend is likely to have a taxing media programme for Yoong. This is based on his one and a half season spent in the Formula Nippon championship prior to him landing his F1 drive with the European Minardi F1 team. This weekend being the last event of 2001, Yoong is also expected to be joined by a strong contingent of support from the sponsors, Magnum and the Ministry of Youth and Sports from Malaysia.

-HYA Malaysia -

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