2002 - Party in Melbourne...

The team started 2002 with reasonably sound financials. In addition to the Malaysian sponsors that had joined together with Alex Yoong, no money had to be spent on engines or fuel as both were supplied by Minardi's new technical partner Asiatech. Asiatech had arisen from the remains of the Peugeot F1 programme and there was talk about there being some major Asian backer waiting in the wings to start a new team with them. In exchange for the engine, Minardi supplied Asiatech with telemetry data the company used for its own Formula 1 plans. The Asiatech engine was the weakest package available but it was a serious leap forward in comparison to the ageing Cosworth unit used in previous seasons.

Joining Malaysian Alex Yoong was Australian Mark Webber. Paul Stoddart's compatriot used to impress in F3000 and was finally allowed to make his debut thanks to the Minardi team. Launching Minardi's 2002 contender in style at Kuala Lumpur's international airport, the team couldn't have possibly imagined that Webber would score two points by coming in 5th at the Australian Grand Prix. Briefly before the end of the race it looked as if Minardi could make it a 5-6 as Mika Salo's Toyota spun into the gravel (with Alex Yoong not far behind him in seventh). Unfortunately for Minardi the Finn was able to resume his race immediately.

Nevertheless Paul Stoddart, Mark Webber and the Australian fans at Albert Park celebrated as if they had won the world championship. Unfortunately these were to be the only points the team scored that year. From Melbourne onwards, results went downhill. Alex Yoong found it increasingly hard to keep his Minardi within 107% of the fastest qualifying time, and he missed the race at Imola. At the Spanish GP the team had other problems. At the start-finish line Mark Webber suddenly lost his rear wing due to a material defect which sent him spinning into the tyre barrier. This scary incident caused Minardi to withdraw from the race on Sunday.

Webber continued to get everything out of the car he was given. Even though he did not score any points apart from his fifth place at Melbourne, his eighth place at Magny Cours was also a more than convincing performance. Alex Yoong's problems continued. The team was not able to supply him with a power steering device and after he failed to qualify for the British and German GP Paul Stoddart decided to give him a time-out for two races. He was replaced by BAR test driver Anthony Davidson who became the first Englishman ever to race for Minardi. Davidson did well in qualifying but concluded both his races in the gravel trap.

Alex Yoong made a strong comeback at the Italian GP. He had focused his time away from the team on fitness exercises and seemed to have regained his confidence. He went on to race quite competitively at the final races of the season, leaving the sport with his head held high. At the final race in Japan he was a mere 0.29 behind Mark Webber who had kept a clean sheet against his team mates and was never outpaced in qualifying that season. The team took the ninth spot in the constructors ranking, ahead of Arrows and the Toyota designed by Gustav Brunner, who had left Minardi in 2001.

In December 2002 Minardi made history by being the first F1 team to race in China. The team took its two seaters for some laps around the Goldenport circuit in Beijing, with Christijan Albers and Alex Yoong behind the wheel. The event was sponsored by Malaysian wheel manufacturer BSA.