News and views on motorsports

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Way To Go Alex!

"Now thats the way you supposed to drive. From now on, thats how you drive " -- Will Smith as Mike Lowry, Bad Boys

In all the excitement this weekend in Austrlia its easy to overlook a great result from Alex Yoong at the A1GP in China. First a pole position, then a win in the sprint race and second in the feature race today.

Alex in truth has been threatening to do well ever since he got the backing from Proton. In a series that supposedly equal, financial backing is still an important element it seems. And Alex has made full use of it. Today's results adds to some good performances in Indonesia and the States before he had that spin after the infamous Corkscrew.

Like a lot of Malaysians, I have been incredibly hard on Alex largely because I didn't think he deserve his shot in Formula 1 and when given the opportunity didn't have the skill to make full use of it against his illustrious teammates. I think now in A1GP, with the nation's attention firmly off him, the pressure is far less and he can just concentrate on the business of driving. Clearly, he's enjoying himself a lot more and I fully applaud his result. Truly well done Alex and you deserve praise for this. Hopefully, when you're out and about town, people won't be trying so hard to avoid you. Maybe you'll even get fans asking for autographs!

Well done and respect!


Checkpoint10 said...

I always rated Alex Yoong highly as a driver. When he was in the United States, he had some good showings with the normally hopeless Coyne team, finishing 9th on his debut and qualifying 13th at his last two races, easily outpacing his teammate Joel Camathias and drivers in better teams. Unfortunately, I believe he was the subject of much racism (as are most Japanese drivers racing in the states); the American fans seemed to pick on him, quite unfairly, at every opportunity. Furthermore, I believe there is a stereotype that Japanese drivers tend to be reckless and crash-prone. But, of course, they don't say that about all the western drivers who account for most accidents in motorsports. As you can see, I am quite annoyed by this, particularly because I believe this attitude has hindered the careers of drivers like Yoong, Takuma Sato, and Narain Karthikeyan, the latter two being international F3 stars.

Qwerty said...

Oh well. I thought Paul Tracy was a notorious crasher when he first appeared in Champcars with Penske.

As for Sato and Karthikeyan, I agree they are good drivers as evidenced by their time in Formula 3. I saw both these guys drive for Trevor Carlin at the Macau Grand Prix some years ago and they were untouchable. Unfortunately the both crashed out as well.

Sato went on to win the event the next year. Both drivers seem to need to calm down though. They can get a bit ragged and hit problems because of it. But I think they have the basic speed in them.

Too bad about Yoong though cause I thought he deserved another shot in the States.

ZurichGnome said...

Yes, good to see Alex do well. I've always thought of him in the journeyman class, primarily because of his performances in Formula Renault back in 97/98. He always used to finish around 5th/6th when people like Pizzonia/Coelho were the class of the field. But lower Formulas don't necessarily give you the real idea, witness Magnussen, who diminated F3, failing in F1. Like most sports, it's a head game and if everything's not right, you'll suffer. In Renault, Alex was running with a team that had never delivered, and against Manor any team would struggle. That's the problem with one-make series where one team really understands the car. But for one race Alex's team didn't have a motorhome, so we ran him out of our awning, and he seemed like a decent guy. I never thought he'd make it big, but he could certainly drive a car faster than me!
btw, great blog, keep it up!

Qwerty said...

Thanks for the compliment.

Yeah, Jan Magnussen was a big disappointment. After beating Senna's record in British F3 I thought he'd do the same in F1. And so was Jos Verstappen who dominated German F3 then got murdered by Michael Schumacher at Benetton. To a certain extent the same could be said of Taku. But I just think he deserved just one last chance. But in this high stakes game thats asking too much I suppose.

But then again we do have someone like Kimi for instance who jumped straight from Formula Renault into Sauber. But I guess thats the exception.

Agreed with you on Alex. I remember watching him at Brands once. He's not a bad driver its just that talent like his are a dime a dozen in Europe.

Plus the general feeling in the racing community in Malaysia is that there were others far more capable than him but never made it due to a lack of luck, funding, connections etc and who now are too old to get up there.

"But for one race Alex's team didn't have a motorhome, so we ran him out of our awning, and he seemed like a decent guy"

Which team were you in again?