FNIPPON: Alex Yoong Ready for 2000 Season

Kuala Lumpur - 26th February 2000 - Malaysia's Formula 1 aspirant, Alex Yoong is all fit and ready to do battle in his first year of the prestigious Formula Nippon Championship after having undergone 8 weeks of intensive physical and mental ...

Kuala Lumpur - 26th February 2000 - Malaysia's Formula 1 aspirant, Alex Yoong is all fit and ready to do battle in his first year of the prestigious Formula Nippon Championship after having undergone 8 weeks of intensive physical and mental training at Bukit Jalil's National Sports Institute.

He had been working out at the gym 6 days a week under the watchful eyes of his motivator and sports psychologist, Michel Gagne and physical trainer, Jorg Teichmann under the umbrella of the National Sports Council. In addition, Alex runs at least 12km twice per week to build up his cardio vascular condition.

"It had been tremendous working under Michel and Jorg." Said Alex, "Without their help, I wouldn't be this prepared. I am now stronger, fitter and more motivated than ever to do well in Japan. This is the first of my crucial 2 years before racing in Formula 1."

"There is now not a question of whether I can get into Formula 1 anymore but the question now is how well I can perform to get into a higher level F1 team. My manager in Japan is working very hard to get me the F1 test and eventual drive. It's looking very good indeed." added Alex.

The 2000 Formula Nippon Championship will see the return of Formula 1 Arrows racer Toranosuke Takagi who will drive with the 1999 champion team, TEAM Nakajima and the formation of an all new team, TEAM MALAYSIA by LeMans piloted by Alex Yoong.

LeMans is the 1998 champions with S. Motoyama had also ran Ralf Schumacher to win the 1996 championship to launch Ralf into the Formula 1 limelight in 1997. LeMans Company's team Director K. Homma will personally look after Alex in all the tests and races in TEAM MALAYSIA.

Of the 23 provisional entries, there will be three Formula Nippon rookies in Malaysia's Alex Yoong, Japan's Tsugio Matsuda and Polish F3000 racer Jaroslaw Wierczuk. The others are all seasoned Formula Nippon campaigners.

1996 British Formula 3 champion Ralph Firman Jr. who won Formula Nippon's final round at Suzuka end of last year and who will start 2000 his third Formula Nippon season, will join Takagi and the 1998 Formula Nippon champion Motoyama as the three favourites to win this year's championship.

Alex's team Director, Homma said of Alex's chances, "Alex will be doing very well to run in mid field. He's a great potential and is very quick. But the competition in Formula Nippon has always been very tough and drivers usually use the first year to learn and familiarise before they show strongly in their second year."

Alex agreed with Homma but emphasised that, "That will not prevent me from trying to get on the podium in every race. I have to go out to do my best, otherwise I would be wasting my time. If more race mileage and more experience are what I need to start winning, then I'll accept it but I hope that comes very soon."

Alex will leave Malaysia tomorrow, 28th February by MH92 departing at 8.45am, for his team base in Gotenba, about an hour from Tokyo at the foot of Mount Fuji to prepare for the first official test by all the Formula Nippon teams at the Suzuka Circuit on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2000.

The Formula Nippon Championship's official press launch will be held on the 29th February 2000 in Tokyo while the TEAM MALAYSIA by LeMans press launch will be held on the 8th of March 2000 at the Malaysian Embassy in Tokyo with the Ambassador of Malaysia officiating the launch.

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Tora Takagi , Alex Yoong , Ralph Firman , Tsugio Matsuda