Yoong for Monza - confirmed

AFTER more intensive running for the European Minardi team in the recent Mugello test, the FIA has bestowed a Superlicence on Malaysian hopeful Alex Yoong - and the team will enter him for the final three races of the year in Italy, America and Japan.

"I'm very happy that the FIA has seen fit to grant me a Superlicence, not especially for myself, but for my country," said Yoong. "We've been working very hard to arrive at this point, and I would like to thank everyone for their support, especially Paul Stoddart and the European Minardi F1 team, my sponsor, Magnum, and the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Malaysia.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge of Formula One because it is the pinnacle of Motorsport and the place where every racing driver wants to compete. To be the first Malaysian driver in Formula One and to represent my country in the World Championship is going to be a thrill and an honor beyond words. I can't wait to get into the car for my first Grand Prix."

Paul Stoddart, the Australian entrepreneur at the head of the European Minardi outfit was equally pleased that Yoong will be allowed his chance. "Alex carries with him the hopes and expectations not only of his country, but also of the whole of southeast Asia," he said. "I'm sure Formula One's profile in the region will benefit enormously from his presence.

Stoddart and the Malaysian government are working together towards the establishment of a driver academy for the Pacific rim to provide a through-flow of young talent nurtured there into the top level of the sport as Malaysia seeks to increase domestic interest in motor racing.

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