Formula 1: Yoong in for Marques at Minardi

Malaysian driver Alex Yoong is set to make his Formula One debut with European Minardi next month after being drafted in to replace Tarso Marques.

Malaysian driver Alex Yoong is set to make his Formula One debut with European Minardi next month after being drafted in to replace Tarso Marques.

Yoong has been granted a super-licence by the sport's governing body, the FIA, after completing a two-day test at the Mugello circuit in Italy.

The Malaysian, who has brought his own backer to the team, will replace Brazilian Marques for the final three races of the season from the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 16.

Marques is to become Mindari's test and reserve driver after giving way to Yoong, who has been put on the fast-track to F1 which this season saw Sauber bring Finland's Kimi Raikkonen into the blue riband of motorsport.

Yoong said: "I'm very happy that the FIA has seen fit to give me a super-licence, not especially for myself but for my country.

"We've been working very hard to arrive at this point and I would like to thank everyone for their support."

Minardi team principal Paul Stoddart said: "As the first Malaysian driver to compete in grand prix racing, Alex carries with him the hopes and expectations not only of his country, but also of the whole of south-east Asia.

"I would like to recognise the efforts of Tarso Marques. He has been a great team player and has done everything asked of him this season, for which we thank him."

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