Minardi, Yoong Chasing Malaysian Money

Minardi are taking legal action against three Malaysian companies over more than $1.5 million of sponsorship allegedly owed to the struggling Formula One team and driver Alex Yoong.

Minardi, Yoong Chasing Malaysian Money

Minardi are taking legal action against three Malaysian companies over more than $1.5 million of sponsorship allegedly owed to the struggling Formula One team and driver Alex Yoong.

Owner Paul Stoddart said that Malaysian Yoong, who lost his drive with Minardi after a disappointing 2002 season, was owed money under a deal for him to be paid a percentage of the sponsorship he brought in.

"Alex is owed money under his driver's contract from last year, we're owed a rather larger amount of money under a sponsorship from last year," the Australian told Reuters at the European Grand Prix today.

"His driver's contract was directly linked to sponsorship and I've actually said to his father that if he can help us collect the outstanding sponsorship that I'll go 50-50 on what we get.

"What he's asked us to do is to assign some of the rights for the collections to him and we're looking at it now. We may well do that."

Stoddart, whose team are now part-owned by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, said Minardi's 2002 title sponsor Kuala Lumpur was not involved in the litigation being pursued in Malaysia.

"I'm chasing the sponsors. We're suing them. I've got a judgment against one going through court and two others," he said. "We're not talking about a small amount of money. Well over a million, closer to two."

Stoddart denied that Yoong, the only Malaysian to drive in Formula One and now trying to secure a place in the US CART series, had threatened to sue him for wages owing.

"He could sue me and I could defend and counter-sue but that's not what's happening," he said. "We're trying to get the Malaysian sponsors to pay and then Alex will get paid. It's as simple as that."

Legal action is commonplace in Formula One. The Jordan team and Ferrari sponsors Vodafone are currently involved in the London High Court over an alleged sponsorship agreement.

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