Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Monday, May 26, 2003 - Malaysia's ex-Formula 1 driver, Alex Yoong confirmed that he has been asked to step down from the Dale Coyne Racing seat after four Champ Car races with the team. This information was officially relayed by Dale Coyne to Yoong's manager, Rick Gorne, over the weekend. This is a blow to the young Malaysian's progress as he had chalked up good results and impressed many in the Champ Car paddocks in the four races he participated in Champ Car this year.
"There is simply not enough interest in the series from Malaysia at the moment and we have not been able to find the necessary funding to complete the year." said a philosophical Yoong. "I am grateful to Dale Coyne for having given me the chance to prove that I can do the job. Dale officially informed my manager over the weekend that Gualter Salles of Brazil will be replacing me from Milwaukee onwards and I like to wish the team all the best for the rest of the season."
Meanwhile, Yoong who is sponsored by Malaysia Airlines, is not giving up on finding another drive elsewhere in Champ Car or in other series. He intimated, "There are some other possibilities available and I will have to see what provides the best opportunity to further my career. I have really enjoyed driving in The Champ Car World Series though and would love to continue racing in the CART series there."
A sponsorship marketing spokesperson who is assisting Yoong in marketing explained that although it is disappointing that there were little success in securing the sponsorship required from Yoong's own country, it was at the same time not unexpected due to the current depressed state of the economy worldwide.
He said the post-Iraq war uncertaintities with the continuing threat of terrorism as well as SARS are affecting income forecasts by companies in Malaysia big time, "It is very natural for the companies in Malaysia and Asia to be cautious in the face of these uncertain times. We can see this cautious approach in sponsorship prevalent not only in this region but worldwide as well. We hope the situation will turn around for the better in 6 to 12 months time." the spokesperson added.