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Governments backing young racers

THE Malaysian government has announced that it is going to support the career of 22-year-old racer Alex Yoong in the hope that he will be ready for a Formula 1 drive in 2001. Yoong is currently racing in the British Formula 3 Championship and recently scored his first podium result. - a promising showing for any young driver with an ambition to get to Formula 1. Now Yoong's hopes have been raised by the announcement that the Malaysian government will provide 75% of his budget to get an F1 drive and help him find the other 25% from private enterprise in the country. The deal is expected to be worth around $4m to Yoong.

The Australian authorities are also pushes very hard to get an F1 drive for rising star Mark Webber, who is currently racing for Mercedes in sportscars.

Webber, who is also 22, recently met with Bernie Ecclestone in the hope that the F1 boss will help him find a test drive in F1 later this year to get him mileage in the current F1 cars. Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Ron Walker is also pushing hard for Webber, as he believes that an Australian driver will add greatly to Australian interest in F1.

Walker is aiming to raise the money to get Webber on the grid in Melbourne next year and may get some money from the Victorian state government to help that happen.

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