JULY 28, 2002
The end of the road for Yoong?
Alex Yoong has had a hard time this year, trying to compete against Australia's Mark Webber at Minardi but when all is said and done the fact that he has three times failed to qualify within 107% of the pole position time is a problem because it means that on Sunday Minardi is only able to field one car - and that means that the team has less chance of scoring the all-important World Championship points. On one occasion the team has accepted that it was to blame but on the other two occasions the blame rests with Yoong.
It now looks likely that, despite bringing considerable amounts of sponsorship from Malaysia, Yoong may have to stand down before the end of the year. Minardi knows that Jos Verstappen would be quicker than Yoong although there are contractual issues with Arrows which could stop Verstappen getting into the car. There are a number of other drivers who could be considered for the drive, notably former Minardi F3000 driver David Saelens. Beyond that it is hard to see who might be someone who is quick enough and who has sufficient experience in the sport. One of the long-term test drivers might be an option but most are unlikely to see Minardi as a better option than their current situations.
No decision is expected to be made for a while but it would not be a surprise to see Yoong ousted before Hungary.
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