First Chinese F1 driver

UPDATE #3 Autosport Magazine reports essentially what we stated last week – Minardi is on the verge of signing Formula BMW Asia Champion Marchy Lee Yin-Kin as its third driver from the San Marino GP. The Chinese would bring huge exposure to the team in his homeland and also increase awareness of the sport there, on the back of last year’s inaugural Chinese GP. Lee, 28, from Hong Kong, began karting at age 13 and moved through Formula Campus in France, French Formula 3, and F3 in Asia and Australia before taking the Asian Formula BMW title last year with 12 wins out of 14 races. [Editor's Note: In our opinion Marchy Lee is better off driving in Champ Car for a couple of years. He needs race experience and driving a Minardi on Fridays is not going to do that for him. However, we suspect Bernie will make this deal happen just to get some PR in China.] 03/11/05 (GMMf1NET) Hong Kong racer Marchy Lee Yin-Kin's management is negotiating with F1 team Minardi. It's rumored that the 28-year-old Formula BMW Asia champion, keen to capitalize on China's desire for a grand prix hero, could line up as Paul Stoddart's 'Friday' driver. ''I am ready for it,'' Lee told the South China Morning Post. ''I just need to be given the opportunity to prove that Chinese drivers can also compete. ''It is my dream to drive an F1 car … (and it) would be very beneficial to my future.' 03/09/05 As first reported here on AutoRacing1.com – Formula BMW Asia Champion Marchy Lee Yin-Kin is rumored to be on the verge of a deal to become the third driver of the Minardi team. If confirmed the deal would be a massive boost for F1 in China, a television audience which the sport is keen to get on board as its ratings at each race dwindle. F1 has been able to post an increase in viewing numbers in 2004 but only by adding new races to the calendar. The 28-year-old Hong Kong driver has had a rather unusual career which began in karting when he was 13. He moved to Formula Campus in France in 1998 and finished fourth and then tried French Formula 3 in 1999 and 2000. He then moved to Formula 3 in Asia and in Australia before deciding last year to consolidate and go back to Formula BMW in Asia, which he won in style with 12 victories in 14 races. We hear that the plan is for Lee to start working as the team's third driver at Imola. Grandprix.com 02/25/05 AutoRacing1.com hears that Chinese driver Marchy Lee is talking to Minardi to become their test driver and become the first Chinese Formula One driver in a year or two.

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