Alex Yoong Escapes Serious Injury at Belgian GP

171 views

Spa, Belgium - Saturday, 28th Aug 1999 - Malaysia's Alex Yoong crashed heavily at a speed of 260kph at the fastest part of the Spa Circuit on lap 5 of the FIA International Formula 3000 race when he was shunted off by Britain's Justin Wilson at...

Spa, Belgium - Saturday, 28th Aug 1999 - Malaysia's Alex Yoong crashed heavily at a speed of 260kph at the fastest part of the Spa Circuit on lap 5 of the FIA International Formula 3000 race when he was shunted off by Britain's Justin Wilson at the famous dip of Eau Rouge. Alex had at that moment climbed to 11th from 16th on the start grid.

The crash was recorded in the race car's telemetry as a 6.5 G side impact stop from a speed of 260kph. As a comparison, Michael Schumacher's recent crash at Silverstone was a 4.5 G front impact stop as speed was scrubbed off to 120kph.

The Formula 1 medical team led by Professor Sid Watkins came to Alex's aid within a minute of the crash and meticulously stabilised him before moving him from the car which was completely destroyed in the massive crash.

After further first aid at the track's medical centre, Alex was sent by helicopter to the Leige hospital (20 km away) for a complete body and brain scan. The doctors cleared him of any neurological or thoracic/spinal injuries but had him retained for observation for a couple of days.

Alex who lost consciousness at the moment of impact later recounted at the hospital that he remembered nothing of the accident except that he remembered seeing a car near him on his rear left upon entering Eau Rouge.

Alex's team owner, Lamberto Leoni said that "Justin Wilson was mad to make an attempt to pass at the flat out section of Eau Rouge. Any slightest touch will send both cars to the barrier. He should thank his lucky stars that Alex is not hurt badly."

Hanifah Yoong, Alex's father who also manages him was at the scene and he said, "In all my life of watching races at Spa whether live at the circuit or on the TV, nobody ever try to pass at Eau Rouge when a driver is flat out at top gear through there. You usually try to pass at braking areas, NOT when both cars are flat on the throttle."

Alex suffered severe concussions, a very bruised body and a torn ligament on his left knee. " I thank God he's alright as the impact had made a huge hole on the side of the monocoque. He's bound to hurt for a week at least." Hanifah added.

Alex is expected to miss the next race which is round 5 of the Italian F3000 Championship scheduled for Misano next weekend. He'll go for physio-therapy after he is discharged from the hospital.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series F3000