ATCC: Asian Formula 2000 alumni in the spotlight

Next weekend's (March 1-3) Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne, will see two former Asian Formula 2000 (AF2000) drivers - Takuma Sato (DHL Jordan Honda F1 Team) Alex Yoong (KL Minardi Asiatech) on the starting grid. Alex competed in...

Next weekend's (March 1-3) Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne, will see two former Asian Formula 2000 (AF2000) drivers - Takuma Sato (DHL Jordan Honda F1 Team) Alex Yoong (KL Minardi Asiatech) on the starting grid.

Alex competed in the series - then called Formula Asia - in 1994 and 1995 (coming in 2nd overall in '95), while Takuma raced - and won - the 1999 Asian Formula 2000 race at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.

Of the two, Alex is considered the "seasoned driver", having raced 3 Grand Prix races last year, while Takuma will make his F1 debut in Melbourne this weekend. This, however, will be the first full season in F1 for the both of them, with Alex's spot as KL Minardi Asiatech's driver looking firm and Takuma riding on a two-year contract with DHL Jordan Honda F1.

The two drivers are hot on the Australian F1 trail. Coincidentally, both the KL Minardi Asiatech F1 and DHL Jordan Honda teams had their official unveiling of the 2002 contenders on the same day - 22nd February, and ironically, both at airports.

The Minardi launch was held at the Bunga Raya VIP Complex of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with the spectacular backdrop provided by the newly acquired Boeing 747 of European Aviation - owned by Minardi Team Principal Paul Stoddard.

The Jordan launch was described as "one of the most spectacular" launches of the year, held in a hanger at Brussels airport, with an actual DHL airplane being taxied into the hanger to "deliver" the EJ12 Formula 1 car.

Besides Takuma and Alex, another former driver - Indian Narain Karthikeyan, is also knocking on the door of F1 teams, and hopefully will secure a drive next year.

-afos-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Alex Yoong
Teams Minardi , Jordan