BAR test driver Anthony Davidson seems set to replace Alex Yoong at Minardi for this weekend’s Hungarian GP. Does Yoong deserve the boot? The statistics seem to suggest the contrary.
BAR test driver Anthony Davidson (pictured right) seems set to replace Alex Yoong at Minardi for this weekend’s Hungarian GP. Does Yoong deserve the boot? The statistics seem to suggest the contrary.
According to sources within the BAR squad, the KL Minardi Asiatech team will soon announce that Davidson will make his F1 debut at the Hungaroring.
Yoong failed to qualify for the German Grand Prix two weeks ago and, as CARtoday.com reported yesterday, team boss Paul Stoddart believes that the 26-year-old Malaysian should be “rested”, perhaps for an indefinite period.
It is speculated that the Malaysian driver will return to the cockpit of the PS02 before the end of the season. But he has received a lot of negative press in recent months, with critics comparing his performances to that of highly-rated team-mate Mark Webber.
However, not many F1 fans are aware that due to Minardi’s meagre budget and the contract Webber has with Flavio Briatore, any new parts for the PS02 go directly into the Australian’s car, leaving Yoong to struggle with inferior equipment, reports.
If the Malaysian driver has to be compared to anyone, it should be the team’s 2001 driver, whom he replaced at Monza last year, Tarso Marques.
Last year, Tarso Marques failed to qualify three times, at Australia, Silverstone and Belgium.
When considering the performances of Yoong and Marques at the Australian and British grands prix, for example, it is important to note that the 2002-spec Minardi is slightly more competitive than its predecessor, but the Brazilian has more F1 experience than the Malaysian.
More importantly, Ferrari’s blistering pace this season must also be taken into consideration – a very significant factor when comparing the 107 per cent cut-off time.
In Australia this year, Yoong set a best time of 1:31,504 – 5,661 off the pole time set by Rubens Barrichello. In 2001, Tarso set a best time of 1:33,228 – 6,336 seconds off the pole time set by Michael Schumacher.
One second was the difference between pole times, yet Alex was 1,7 seconds faster than Marques’ time.
At Silverstone this year, Yoong’s best of 1:24,785 was 5,787 off Montoya’s blistering pace of 1:18,998. A year earlier, Marques’ best was a 1:26,506, 6,059 behind Michael Schumacher’s pole time of 1:20,447.
One and a half seconds between pole times and 1,8 seconds between Marques and Yoong’s times. In both instances, Alex has put in a quicker lap time with a shorter gap to the pole sitter than Marques.
Meanwhile, Infiniti Pro Series driver and former star Jason Priestley (pictured left) has been transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after receiving serious injuries in an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series practice at Kentucky Speedway.
Priestley, 32, from Vancouver, British Columbia, was transferred to Methodist – renowned for its treatment of injured race drivers – from the University of Kentucky Hospital intensive care unit. His condition is serious but stable.
Doctors announced earlier today that Priestley’s pulse and blood pressure were normal, he continued to breath on his own, and he was responsive.
"Priestley’s condition has improved and stabilised to the point where a transfer can be safely completed," said Dr Stephan Stapczynski, professor and chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine and medical director at Kentucky Speedway.
Priestley sustained concussion as well as a fracture of his ninth thoracic vertebra. In addition to a contusion around his left eye, Priestley has lacerations on the bridge of his nose and left cheek, neck lacerations and fractures in both feet.
Get-well wishes may be sent to: Kelley Racing, Attn: Jason Priestley 6803 Coffman Indianapolis, IN 46268