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Yoong: “It’s nice to see how strong the championship is getting”

Hong Kong E-Prix FIA driver steward Alex Yoong, tells us about the reasoning behind Formula E’s strict penalties.

Former Formula One driver Alex Yoong is back in race control as a FIA Driver Steward for the Hong Kong E-Prix. He previously was involved in the championship as a Driver Steward  during the Santiago E-Prix in season 4: “It’s nice to see how strong the championship is getting. From the last round in Mexico, there were a lot of incidents which always happens when the competition gets tougher and tighter, maybe our job will be a bit difficult as well,” he says.

The all-electric championship is known for its tight regulations and often punishing penalties, where precision plays a vital role in getting top results. He adds that the all-electric championship that focuses on energy management and the frequent odd spikes of energy that can be produced is one of the reasons why the penalties have to be strict in nature, “I think that’s what’s catching people out, because it’s so easy to get it wrong.”

“We have to be really tight in that,” says Yoong. “You’re dealing with electric energy and it’s really easy to go above the limits.”

The FIA Technical Delegate here, Laurent Arnaud is very good, he’s been around for a while and he has to be very hard, because it’s very easy to abuse those systems. They have a whole bunch of protocols, for things such as if you go above a limit but have perceived to not go above the limit and stuff. There cannot be any compromise on that, it has to be that way because it’s easy to abuse.”

Although, Yoong explains that it’s not uncommon for other series to be as strict with the regulations: “In my experience, in Le Mans it’s probably the hardest as far as rules go. I think Formula E are not being over the top in my view.”

The former Formula One driver and so far the only Malaysian driver to compete in Formula One thinks the young all-electric championship reminds him of his days in A1 Grand Prix, “The competition is hard and it’s getting stricter now because all the manufacturers are coming in but there’s a huge level of enjoyment and not too dissimilar from A1 GP and that was a lot of fun. It’s turning into a really good championship, it’s really exciting to watch and the cars are getting faster as well.”

He’s still very much involved with the motor racing scene in Malaysia, “Back home, my company is focusing motorsports regionally and it’s a very niche sport and to be honest there has been no real growth.

“China and Thailand are growing well, but the rest of Asia is not going that well. While having events like Formula E or F1 coming to the region is nice, but they do nothing for helping stimulate local growth. So, I’m focusing on grassroots racing and I’m trying to stimulate that growth and also a lot of Malaysian drivers are showing a lot of promise.”

About Noor Amylia Hilda
Noor Amylia Hilda is a journalist based in Kuala Lumpur with bylines in titles such as Women's Health, Esquire and ELLE. She is also a freelance motorsport journalist covering the FIA Formula E championship and Formula 1.