CHAMPCAR/CART: Alex Yoong 2003 plans still in the works

Yoong's Champ Car team announcement: A decision one way or another expected soon. Malaysian racer Alex Yoong has delayed announcing which Champ Car team he will be driving for this year due to continuing negotiations with teams. He revealed ...

Yoong's Champ Car team announcement: A decision one way or another expected soon.

Malaysian racer Alex Yoong has delayed announcing which Champ Car team he will be driving for this year due to continuing negotiations with teams.

He revealed today that there was no shortage of offers, but the budgets that various teams need him to bring was a problem, as his Malaysian sponsors would prefer to be involved with Formula 1.

He said that most teams require their drivers to bring a budget of between US$5 million and US$7 million to get a seat. He confirms that he now has a best offer from a team that requires him to bring an amount of only US$2.5 million from his sponsors, as the team has managed to raise US$3.5 million from American sponsors for Yoong.

"We are presently working very hard on getting the budget and I am still hopeful of getting to the starting grid for the first race on February 23rd," said Yoong from his Kuala Lumpur home. "The present delay may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and I won't lose any sleep over it. I prefer to be driving without needing to bring a big budget to the team. If it doesn't happen, there will be opportunities later and maybe elsewhere."

Yoong, 26, became his country's first ever Formula 1 driver when he made his debut for Minardi in August 2001 in the Italian GP and drove for the team till the end of the 2002 season.

"My objective is still to get back into Formula 1 by 2004, when China organises her first Grand Prix. But if there is a year's delay, it's OK," added Yoong.

The 2003 CART championship has been renamed 'Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford' and is expected to have a bigger line-up than last year.

Yoong will miss the Chinese New Year celebrations as he will be leaving Kuala Lumpur for Florida on the February 1st to attend Champ Car's "Spring Training".

"Spring Training" is the pre-season event where all the registered teams turn up in force at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida and are introduced to the media and fans while conducting test sessions over three days - from February 4th to the 6th.

Yoong said that an announcement one way or another will be made very soon.

-ay-

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