Alister Yoong on being the son of an ex-F1 driver and the long road to Formula 1

Alister Yoong copy

Alister Yoong is the next Malaysian driver that wants to make it in the racing world. The 17-year old’s last name, who competed in Formula 4 South East Asia last year, might ring a bell. He’s the son of former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong. Here he talks about the pressure that comes with that and his ambitions.

By Aisha Daulay

2019 was Alister Yoong’s first year on the feeder series ladder. He had a few good performances with one win and five podiums, but all in all it was an up and down season. He managed to finish in sixth place with 213 points at the end of the championship. Alongside his father Alex Yoong, who’s the first Malaysian driver ever to make it to F1, Alister is aiming to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming the next big Malaysian name in the racing world.

“He has done amazing things”, Yoong says. “He made Malaysia more known in the motorsports world. I want to do that as well. I think he paved the way for Malaysian drivers. For me to grow and become a better driver though, I need to forget about that. There’s a pressure coming with a name like his. But: when I drive, I’m not Alex Yoong’s son. I’m driving for myself because I want to win and I want to be the best. That might sound a little bit selfish, but I’m not doing this for anyone else except me.”

The Malaysian driver sees some disadvantages in being the son of an ex-F1 driver, but he also admitted that he’s proud to be Alex Yoong’s son even with the flaws that come within. “Some people don’t think of him in a positive light, and I’ll see some of that get translated to me sometimes. But who cares about what people think, you know? I’ve noticed it of course, and I think when I was younger it made an impact on me. But it doesn’t really matter anymore.”

He continues: “When it comes to driving, it’s just me. There can’t be any distractions. Negative comments on my driving or comments about my dad don’t affect my driving because you have to leave it off the track.”

2020 and future goals

The 17-year old admits he doesn’t have a drive lined up yet in 2020, but he’s aiming for wins nonetheless. “In terms of targets, I want to win a championship this year. I don’t mind what it is although I prefer a feeder formula championship. I’m hoping in the next two years I’ll be doing quite a lot of driving, but that’s still uncertain, especially with corona and all that. I think I’ll be doing some local racing, probably be at Sepang or maybe Johor.”

Yoong’s goal is to race in Europe, but he admits he’s not ready yet. “Before I go to Europe, I definitely need to win a couple of championships to prove myself. I need to become a good driver here in Asia where racing is cheaper and where I can pick up sponsorships and then go to Europe with those sponsorships.”

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