Kuala Lumpur - Friday, 28th Oct 2001 - Having endured waiting for his US visa last week, Malaysia's European Minardi F1 driver, Alex Yoong can hardly wait for his debut US Grand Prix start in the famous Indianapolis circuit this weekend. Yoong...
Kuala Lumpur - Friday, 28th Oct 2001 - Having endured waiting for his US visa last week, Malaysia's European Minardi F1 driver, Alex Yoong can hardly wait for his debut US Grand Prix start in the famous Indianapolis circuit this weekend.
Yoong finally obtained his visa in London at the end of last week and travelled with the team boss Paul Stoddart's European Aviation plane on Tuesday for Indianapolis. The first thing he did upon arrival and checking into the team's hotel was to visit and walk the "brickyard" which the Indy circuit is fondly and popularly referred to.
"This is an interesting circuit which has a mix of the slow bits and the long straight run in a part of the oval. It is going to be some challenge to set up the car. It's going to be a choice of whether you want to sacrifice top speed for downforce to get your good lap or to go the other way to get it." said Yoong.
"Due to the no-testing rule for this circuit, getting track time during the Friday and Saturday practices before qualifying will be crucial. I certainly hope to get in at least 3 times more laps before qualifying than I did for Monza."
Yoong had missed half the session during the first practice on Friday and then all of the two practices on Saturday in his F1 debut at Monza two weeks ago due to problems with the gearbox.
When asked what he expects from this weekend's race, Yoong said, "I expect to build on my experience gained in my first race. I had qualified despite awry conditions in Monza and the team was happy with my race efforts. Now I would like to qualify plus finish the race this weekend."
"There are a lot of support from home and I've been told that large groups gather together in front of TV sets and large screens in public places all over Malaysia to cheer me on. I look forward to not disappointing them as well as my sponsor, MAGNUM, by delivering my best efforts this weekend."
There will be a total of 6 rookies racing in this circuit for the first time. Juan Pablo Montoya will race this F1 version of the circuit for the first time, even though he had won the Indy 500 on the oval track. Others who are on their first visit to Indy are Enrique Bernoldi, Kimi Raikonnen, Fernando Alonso, Tomas Enge and Alex Yoong.