Yoong responds to Irvine's criticism

Eddie simply had a bad weekend Kuala Lumpur - Tuesday, 19th Mar 2002 - Problems set in for KL Minardi Minardi driver Alex Yoong while running strongly in15th position, when his fuel rig failed to deliver sufficient fuel during his first ever...

Eddie simply had a bad weekend

Kuala Lumpur - Tuesday, 19th Mar 2002 - Problems set in for KL Minardi Minardi driver Alex Yoong while running strongly in15th position, when his fuel rig failed to deliver sufficient fuel during his first ever home race at the Sepang circuit on Sunday, the young Malaysian driver forced to retire shortly afterward with gear box problems in his PS02. Before this, there was an incident with Eddie Irvine, the Jaguar driver coming up to put a lap on the Minardi when the two touched and Irvine lost his front wing.

Eddie, who retired on lap 31 due to mechanical problems not connected with this incident, is reportedly annoyed with Alex's on track behaviour, despite classing it as a racing incident to Malaysia's TV3 network. The Irishman claims that Alex was being given the blue flag at the time, a cue to the Jaguar that it was okay to go through, but that the Minardi crossed right across his path when he attempted to make the move, taking his front wing off in the process.

"I was up to 9th place when I came up behind the Minardi of Alex Yoong. He was being given the blue flag and that was my cue to overtake. He moved over and as I went past, he cut right across my path and took the front wing off," he said. "I don't know what he was doing, or if he just made a mistake. I was coming in that lap or the next, so I had to push and he made it look like he was taking all the space in the world, just chopping and changing lines."

Malaysian news reports after the race had Irvine responding to TV3's question about what happened with, "I don't know...maybe he didn't see me coming....these things happen in racing," however it now appears as if he has changed his mind on the incident, something Alex simply doesn't agree with. The KL Minardi driver knows he did the right thing at the time and has suggested that maybe the problem was simply that Eddie was having a bad weekend.

"First of all there were no blue flags. Secondly Eddie (Irvine) was some way back when I moved out to take my racing line," Yoong said. "I had already turned in when he made a dive in on the inside. He was simply making too ambitious a move and could have waited till later. I was definitely taking my racing line and had not chopped here and there."

He added that, "What I think is that Eddie simply had a bad weekend and he's decided to apportion blame elsewhere. Many who had seen the incident on TV including ITV's James Allen had commented that I was just taking my line and thought it was an ambitious move. Maybe Eddie should review the TV footages and he might change his view again."

On the next race in Brazil in 10 days time, Yoong assured his fans that, "I can't wait for Brazil to happen. I'm looking forward to it and put in the same 100% effort for the team who has worked so hard for us."

- www.alexyoong.com

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Alex Yoong
Teams Minardi