KUALA LUMPUR: Alex Yoong believes that single-seater racing is important for a driver to develop his skills.
Due to the astronomical costs needed to compete in Formula One, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) has now turned its attention to developing drivers capable of challenging for honours in touring car and endurance racing at the international level.
Alex, a former F1 driver, who now heads SIC's driver development programme, stressed that formula racing experience helps create good drivers.
"I think it is very useful for young drivers to go from karting to formula cars when they are 15. We encourage drivers to at least do F4 and F3 as it will see them racing against the best in the world," said Alex.
"F2 is not necessary unless you intend to go on to F1. In general, we see more well rounded drivers if they have experience in formula racing.
"From there (F3) they can go on to compete in touring cars and endurance racing.
"It would be better if they went through this route, however, it is not a hard rule, for example Mitchell Cheah only did F4 and saloon car racing in the past but has already gone on to win in TCR Asia."
Alex added that he hopes to see more drivers come up to bridge the gap between the elite and grassroots level in Malaysia.
"At the moment, we are lucky to have three superstars in Jazeman Jaafar, Nabil Jeffri and Weiron Tan, who have done well to win in the Asian Le Mans Series. They are now competing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC),” he added.