Alex gears up for Macau

Alex Yoong says he cannot afford to make a mistake on the unforgiving circuit at this weekend's Macau Grand Prix.

'If you make a mistake, you'll end up on the wall,' he says. This is Alex's second time competing in Macau, and he isn't taking any chances. 'Like any sport, you've got to prepare yourself mentally and physically and you've got to have supreme concentration to try to stay on top of everything.' With all the major international Formula Three series champions competing, Alex is not expecting an easy time.

'Macau has a dangerous and exciting circuit but it's rewarding because you have to push yourself to the limit. Anything can happen and you need lots of luck . . . but there's a good chance of finishing in the top five or on the podium.' Alex, Malaysia's pride on the racing circuit, is on the brink of Formula One after four years of racing in Europe.

He's the first Malaysian to compete professionally on the international circuit and one of three non-Japanese Asian drivers seeking a Formula One career.

Alex started racing when he was 11 but he learned how to handle the steering wheel 'on dirt roads' from his father, a sports promoter and motor racer. He attracted a lot of attention when he finished second in the British Formula Three this year and now hopes to join Formula Nippon's top team, Team Le Mans, where he has secured a test next month.

For Alex the attraction of racing is its competitive nature.

'I just love competing. Add a powerful and fast machine and 20 guys who are very aggressive and will do anything to beat you and that's the attraction for me.' Does he ever worry about the dangers of the sport? 'It's an acceptable risk but I don't think about it because once you do, it gets to you and you will stop racing.'