Malaysian minister supports Minardi decision

Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian minister for sport, supports the decision of Minardi boss Paul Stoddart to replace Alex Yoong until he regains his confidence. Yoong failed to qualify for three Grands Prix this season and Stoddart took ...

Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian minister for sport, supports the decision of Minardi boss Paul Stoddart to replace Alex Yoong until he regains his confidence. Yoong failed to qualify for three Grands Prix this season and Stoddart took action by replacing the struggling Malaysian driver with BAR tester Anthony Davidson. Although Hussein is disappointed, he agrees that Stoddart made the right choice.

"I held discussions with Paul Stoddart on the matter and we respect the judgement of the Minardi team," he told the Malaysian press. "We will not influence nor want to pass judgement on the decision made by the team. Alex has to start performing if he harbours hopes of returning to the cockpit for Monza."

Yoong has something of a reputation as a 'pay-driver', a driver who was taken on for his monetary value rather than his talent, and has received some criticism that he was not up to F1 standards. Hussein dismisses that, saying Yoong just needs to build his confidence more.

"He was there when the opportunity arose for a Malaysian driver to make his debut into Formula One," the sport's minister said. "It is not that he was not up to it but of late he seems to be suffering from a lack of confidence during the qualifiers. Stoddart has assured me that they will do all they can to help Alex but he too must be prepared to work hard. Let's say that he has to start from scratch now."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Anthony Davidson , Alex Yoong , Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi