Malaysia’s first F1 driver, Alex Yoong, is turning 34 today!
A former national waterskiing champion, Alex competed in F1 with Minardi between 2001-2 after a succession of seasons in Formula Asia and F3000.
The perception that he was a pay driver should certainly be questioned, as there was clear evidence that he was given little opportunity to perform with equipment equal to his team-mates Fernando Alonso or Mark Webber during his stint with the Faenza team.
That he went on to perform very competitively in A1 Grand Prix – hardly a second-rate series – and win several races should be a testament to his skill behind the wheel.
Alex now works for the Lotus F1 team as a driver development consultant, hoping to unearth the next Malaysian F1 talent.
[Original image via The Cahier Archive]