By Chia Han Keong
MANY biographies have been published about Formula One champions like Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and the late Ayrton Senna, but ESPN Star Sports presenter Steve Dawson was more intrigued by those at the tail end of the starting grid - who include people such as former Malaysian driver Alex Yoong.
The current F1 pundit was the country's first representative in top-tier motor sport from 2001 to 2002, but he struggled together with a Minardi team on a tight budget.
The 33-year-old's unsuccessful F1 stint forms the bulk of Dawson's new book, Alex Yoong: The Driver's Line, which chronicles the driver's rise to fame, and the trials and tribulations that went with it.
With the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix taking place this weekend, Dawson shared his thoughts on writing about his frequent co-host at ESPN Star Sports.
What compelled you to write about Alex's life story?
When you're looking to buy an F1 biography, there are a few out there.
Perhaps Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher's would fit the bill, but they all tell similar stories.
Those drivers were all successful with the best, or one of the best, cars on the grid.
I wanted to understand why Alex didn't come close to winning a title.
I discovered that the vast majority of racing drivers have to raise millions of dollars just to get to the cusp of F1, and that merely making the grade was no guarantee of getting those millions back.
Was it difficult for Alex to talk about his unsuccessful F1 stint?
It's fair to say that Alex left the sport somewhat disillusioned.
You could even perhaps describe the experience as painful.
But since he left the sport, a lot of water has passed under the bridge.
He now has an easier time coming to terms with the cards he had been dealt, and has gained a remarkable perspective on the sport.