Jean Alesi

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Jean Alesi
Jeanalesi2011.jpg
Alesi at Autosport International Show 2011
Nationality France French
Born Giovanni Alesi
(1964-06-11) 11 June 1964 (age 50)
Avignon, Vaucluse, France
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19892001
Teams Tyrrell, Ferrari, Benetton, Sauber, Prost, Jordan
Races 202 (201 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 1
Podiums 32
Career points 241
Pole positions 2
Fastest laps 4
First race 1989 French Grand Prix
First win 1995 Canadian Grand Prix
Last win 1995 Canadian Grand Prix
Last race 2001 Japanese Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1989, 2010
Teams Team Schuppan
AF Corse
Best finish 4th in LMGT2 (2010)
Class wins 0
IndyCar Series career
1 race(s) run over 1 year(s)
Team(s) No. 64 (Fan Force United)
First race 2012 Indianapolis 500 (Indy)
Wins Podiums Poles
0 0 0

Jean Alesi (born Giovanni Alesi; 11 June 1964) is a French racing driver of Italian origin. His Formula One career included spells at Tyrrell, Benetton, Sauber, Prost, Jordan and most notably Ferrari where he proved very popular among the tifosi. In 2006 Alesi was awarded Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.[1]

Early career[edit]

Alesi was born to Sicilian parents in Avignon, Vaucluse. Starting his career with a passion for rallying rather than racing, he graduated to single seaters through the French Renault 5 championship. In the late 1980s he was very much a coming man in motor racing, winning the 1987 French Formula 3 title before moving up to International Formula 3000 in 1988. In 1989, his second season in International F3000, he won the championship. Both crowns were after duels with his rival Érik Comas. In 1989 Alesi tied on points for the F3000 title with Comas, but won the title based on the fact Alesi had three wins to Comas' two.

Formula One career[edit]

Alesi at the 1991 US GP, driving for Ferrari

Tyrrell[edit]

Alesi debuted in the 1989 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard in a Tyrrell-Ford, replacing Michele Alboreto and finishing a brilliant fourth. He drove most of the rest of the season for Tyrrell while continuing his successful Formula 3000 campaign, (occasionally giving the car up in favour of Johnny Herbert when Formula 3000 clashed), scoring points again at the Italian and Spanish Grands Prix.

1990 was his first full year in Grand Prix racing, with the underfunded Tyrrell team. At the first event, the United States Grand Prix at Phoenix, he was a sensation, leading for 25 laps in front of Ayrton Senna with a car powered by a customer Ford V8 considered as vastly inferior to the V10 Honda in Senna's McLaren, and also re-passing Senna after the Brazilian had first overtaken for the lead. Second place in the Monaco Grand Prix followed the second place gained in Phoenix, and by mid-season, top teams were clamouring for his services in 1991. A very confused situation erupted, with Tyrrell, Williams, and Ferrari all claiming to have signed the driver within a very short period.

Ferrari[edit]

Jean Alesi took his only Grand Prix win at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Ferrari were championship contenders at the time, and there he would be driving with fellow countryman Alain Prost, at that time the most successful driver in Formula One history. Alesi signed with Ferrari, making the choice that not only appeared to maximize his chances for winning the championship and for learning from an experienced and successful teammate, but that fulfilled his childhood dream of driving for the Italian team.

Alesi driving for Sauber at the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.
Alesi driving for Prost at the 2001 French Grand Prix.

Ferrari, however, experienced a disastrous downturn in form in 1991, while the Williams team experienced a resurgence which would lead them to win five constructor's titles between 1992 and 1997, thus becoming the most successful team of the 1990s. Alesi's choice of Ferrari over Williams seemed the most logical at the time, but turned out to be very unfortunate. Having a dismal 1991 season, Alesi's team mate Prost was sacked after the Japanese Grand Prix when he publicly described the car as a "truck" and took a year long sabbatical from racing.

Alesi was partnered by Ivan Capelli the following year, before being joined by Austrian Gerhard Berger in 1993 who was returning to Maranello after three seasons with McLaren. Alesi injured his back after a testing accident at Mugello circuit in Italy after the first race of the 1994 season (Brazil) and was replaced in the Pacific Grand Prix and the infamous San Marino Grand Prix (round 3) by Nicola Larini. In five years at the Italian marque Alesi gained little, except the passionate devotion of the tifosi, who loved his aggressive style. That style, and his use of the number 27 on his car, led many to associate him with the late Gilles Villeneuve, a beloved and still very popular Ferrari driver from 1977–1982 who lost his life in his #27 Ferrari 126C2 while qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. Alesi and Berger won only one race each during this period at Ferrari. Following Alesi's first and only GP win in the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix (on his 31st birthday), his Ferrari 412T ran out of fuel as he waved to fans on the backstraight and he was given a lift back to the pits by the then reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher.

Benetton[edit]

When Benetton's Michael Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996, Alesi and teammate Gerhard Berger swapped places with him. Though Benetton was the defending constructors' champions, they were about to experience a lull in form like Ferrari in 1991. Schumacher went on to rejuvenate Ferrari, while Alesi and Berger spent two seasons at a declining Benetton riddled with bad luck and internal politics. While Berger had a reasonable run at Benetton, winning the 1997 German Grand Prix (his last of 10 F1 wins) after having come two laps from victory at the same race the previous year when his engine blew while he was leading within sight of the flag, Alesi's Benetton career proved more turbulent, not helped by an embarrassing retirement in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 1997 when he ignored several radio messages from the pit mechanics to come in for his pit stop, and continued for five laps until running out of fuel. His form became increasingly erratic that season, including incidents at the French Grand Prix when he needlessly pushed David Coulthard off the track, and the Austrian Grand Prix, where his attempt to outbrake Eddie Irvine from nearly eight lengths behind caused a spectacular collision that saw Alesi placed under investigation for dangerous driving after the race. A pole position and eventual second place at the Italian Grand Prix were not enough to salvage his drive at Benetton, and the team released Alesi at the end of the 1997 season.

Sauber[edit]

Alesi moved on, initially to Sauber for 1998 Formula One season. During his tenure with the Swiss team, Alesi was paired with Johnny Herbert and they went on to form the most experienced driver line-up for the 1998 season. Alesi finished his 1998 campaign with 9 points, finishing eleventh in the championship. Alesi had his best result for 1998, when he finished third in the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix. Alesi continued to drive for Sauber in 1999 and was paired with Brazilian driver; Pedro Diniz. The results got worse in 1999 with Alesi scoring only two points during the season. 1999 season proved to be last one for Alesi with Sauber team.

Prost[edit]

After spending two seasons with Sauber, Alesi moved on to join Prost, which was owned by his former Ferrari teammate (and four time World Drivers' Champion) Alain Prost after Prost had bought the Ligier team in early 1997 and renamed it. With Prost, Alesi was consistent, finishing every race, occasionally in points scoring positions, his best finish being at Canada. A fallout after the British Grand Prix, however saw Alesi walk out after the German Grand Prix, where he scored a point. This was because German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen was suddenly sacked by Jordan after the British Grand Prix and needed a drive. He joined the Prost team, and Alesi joined Jordan..

Jordan[edit]

Alesi ended his open-wheel career in 2001 with Jordan, bookending his career nicely: Alesi had driven for Jordan in Formula 3000 when he won the championship in 1989. Alesi drove the remaining five races of 2001 for Jordan, scoring his last Formula one points in Belgium by finishing sixth. Alesi made his 200th Formula One start in 2001 United States Grand Prix and finished his F1 career at the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix, where he retired after colliding with Kimi Räikkönen on lap 5.

Post-Formula One career[edit]

Alesi driving for Mercedes-Benz (Persson Motorsport) in the 2006 DTM season.
Jean Alesi in his 2006 DTM-Mercedes racecar

DTM 2002–2006[edit]

After Formula One, Alesi was a popular and successful driver in the DTM (German Touring Car Championship), where he placed fifth in the 2002 championship for Mercedes with one victory. He repeated this in 2003 but this time scoring two victories. In 2004 he finished seventh in the championship scoring no victories. In 2005 he won the opening race and went on to take seventh place in the standings once more. He retired from the DTM after finishing the 2006 season in 9th place.

  • 2002 – 5th in the championship, 1 victory,
  • 2003 – 5th, 2 victories,
  • 2004 – 7th,
  • 2005 – 7th, 1 victory,
  • 2006 – 9th

Direxiv[edit]

Alesi was an active spokesman for the Direxiv team in their bid for entry to the 2008 Formula 1 series. It was planned as a McLaren B Team with backing and engines from Mercedes. However, the proposal was beaten to the final grid place by Prodrive.

Speedcar Series 2008–2009[edit]

Alesi joined a number of other ex-Formula One drivers (Christian Danner, Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson, Ukyo Katayama, JJ Lehto, Gianni Morbidelli, Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Yoong) in the inaugural season of the Far & Middle Eastern Speedcar Series. He won two races and finished 4th in the championship. He finished fifth in the second and last season of Speedcar Series after taking two wins in 2009.

  • 2008 - 4th, 2 victories
  • 2009 - 5th, 2 victories

Le Mans Series 2010–[edit]

On 13 October 2009, Alesi tested an AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT2 at Maranello, on the same day that Felipe Massa drove an F1 car for the first time after his accident in Hungary earlier in the year. After the test, which lasted just 65 laps, Alesi was enthusiastic and Amato Ferrari talked about Alesi's possible involvement in the 2010 programme.

Early in 2010 it was announced that Alesi would be the team-mate of another ex-F1 Ferrari driver, Giancarlo Fisichella, in the Le Mans Series GT2 class in Ferrari's AF Corse team.[2] In the first two races Alesi and his team-mates Fisichella and Finn Toni Vilander finished on the podium. Alesi, Fisichella and Vilander raced in the Le Mans 24 h race for AF Corse and finished 4th in their class.[3] In the third race of the season in Algarve the trio finished in second position[4] and at the Hungaroring they finished in fourth place. They finished second in the championship.

Lotus 2011–[edit]

In January 2011, along with the launch of their new car, Lotus Renault GP announced that they had hired Alesi as an ambassador for the team and test driver for the T125 single-seater project. In September, Alesi announced that he will attempt to qualify for the 2012 Indianapolis 500, in a car powered by a Lotus-badged engine.[5]

On Series Seventeen, Episode 5 of BBC TV show Top Gear, Alesi helped presenter Jeremy Clarkson to test drive one of the T125 single seaters.

Indianapolis 500[edit]

In April 2012, Alesi announced his intent to race in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 with a Lotus engine. Deals with former IZOD IndyCar Series team Newman/Haas Racing fell through, and HVM Racing owner Keith Wiggins said that his team didn't have the funding to run Alesi in the 500.[6] However, Firestone Indy Lights team Fan Force United agreed to field Alesi in the 500[7] where he qualified 33rd. Unfortunately, his Lotus powered car, along with that of fellow Lotus driver Simona de Silvestro, was so severely underpowered as to be unable to maintain sufficient pace in the race, and both were forced to park their cars after less than a dozen completed laps.

On 18 December 2012, Alesi unofficially announced his intention to quit racing when, in an interview with L'Equipe, he conceded that for next year he had given up on finding the sponsorship required for a second attempt.

Pirelli 2013–[edit]

In 2013 Alesi became an ambassador for Pirelli.[8]

Helmet[edit]

His helmet is white with black and red lines going down on the front side of the helmet with his name written, being an homage to Elio de Angelis, in addition to a deep blue top section (sometimes shaped after a raindrop which contains smaller, light blue "raindrops". In 1999 his helmet changed from white to silver (owing to one of Sauber's sponsors being Red Bull).

Personal life[edit]

Alesi is a wine connoisseur and has a vineyard near his hometown of Avignon, where he resides with his wife, Japanese model, actress and pop singer Kumiko Goto, and their four children.

Racing record[edit]

Complete International Formula 3000 results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
1988 Oreca March 87B Ford Cosworth A JER
11
VAL
9
10th 11
Reynard 88D PAU
2
SIL
5
MNZ
Ret
PER
6
BRH
Ret
BIR
Ret
BUG
Ret
ZOL
9
DIJ
5
1989 Eddie Jordan Racing Reynard 89D Mugen Honda A SIL
4
VAL
Ret
PAU
1
JER
5
PER
Ret
BRH
2
BIR
1
SPA
1
BUG
6
DIJ
1st* 39

* – Alesi won the 1989 title on countback, winning three races to Érik Comas' two.

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1989 Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 018 Cosworth V8 BRA
SMR
MON
MEX
USA
CAN
FRA
4
GBR
Ret
GER
10
HUN
9
BEL
ITA
5
POR
ESP
4
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
9th 8
1990 Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 018 Cosworth V8 USA
2
BRA
7
9th 13
Tyrrell 019 SMR
6
MON
2
CAN
Ret
MEX
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
8
GER
11
HUN
Ret
BEL
8
ITA
Ret
POR
8
ESP
Ret
JPN
DNS
AUS
8
1991 Scuderia Ferrari SpA Ferrari 642/2 Ferrari V12 USA
12
BRA
6
SMR
Ret
MON
3
CAN
Ret
7th 21
Ferrari 643 MEX
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
Ret
GER
3
HUN
5
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
3
ESP
4
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1992 Scuderia Ferrari SpA Ferrari F92A Ferrari V12 RSA
Ret
MEX
Ret
BRA
4
ESP
3
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
3
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
5
HUN
Ret
7th 18
Ferrari F92AT BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
JPN
5
AUS
4
1993 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F93A Ferrari V12 RSA
Ret
BRA
8
EUR
Ret
SMR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
3
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
9
GER
7
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
2
POR
4
JPN
Ret
AUS
4
6th 16
1994 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 412T1 Ferrari V12 BRA
3
PAC
SMR
MON
5
ESP
4
CAN
3
5th 24
Ferrari 412T1B FRA
Ret
GBR
2
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
EUR
10
JPN
3
AUS
6
1995 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 412T2 Ferrari V12 BRA
5
ARG
2
SMR
2
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
1
FRA
5
GBR
2
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
5
EUR
2
PAC
5
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
5th 42
1996 Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B196 Renault V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
2
ARG
3
EUR
Ret
SMR
6
MON
Ret
ESP
2
CAN
3
FRA
3
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
3
BEL
4
ITA
2
POR
4
JPN
Ret
4th 47
1997 Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
6
ARG
7
SMR
5
MON
Ret
ESP
3
CAN
2
FRA
5
GBR
2
GER
6
HUN
11
BEL
8
ITA
2
AUT
Ret
LUX
2
JPN
5
EUR
13
4th 36
1998 Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C17 Petronas V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
9
ARG
5
SMR
6
ESP
10
MON
12
CAN
Ret
FRA
7
GBR
Ret
AUT
Ret
GER
10
HUN
7
BEL
3
ITA
5
LUX
10
JPN
7
11th 9
1999 Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C18 Petronas V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
Ret
SMR
6
MON
Ret
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
14
AUT
Ret
GER
8
HUN
16
BEL
9
ITA
9
EUR
Ret
MAL
7
JPN
6
16th 2
2000 Gauloises Prost Peugeot Prost AP03 Peugeot V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
GBR
10
ESP
Ret
EUR
9
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
14
AUT
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
12
USA
Ret
JPN
Ret
MAL
11
22nd 0
2001 Prost Acer Prost AP04 Acer V10 AUS
9
MAL
9
BRA
8
SMR
9
ESP
10
AUT
10
MON
6
CAN
5
EUR
15
FRA
12
GBR
11
GER
6
15th 5
B&H Jordan Honda Jordan EJ11 Honda V10 HUN
10
BEL
6
ITA
8
USA
7
JPN
Ret

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1989 Australia Team Schuppan United Kingdom Will Hoy
United States Dominic Dobson
Porsche 962C C1 69 DNF DNF
2010 Italy AF Corse Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari F430 GT2 GT2 323 16th 4th

Complete Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DC Points
2002 HWA Team AMG-Mercedes CLK-DTM HOC
QR

8
HOC
CR

3
ZOL
QR

9
ZOL
CR

10
DON
QR

1
DON
CR

1
SAC
QR

16
SAC
CR

Ret
NOR
QR

5
NOR
CR

4
LAU
QR

14
LAU
CR

8
NÜR
QR

11
NÜR
CR

Ret
A1R
QR

4
A1R
CR

3
ZAN
QR

14
ZAN
CR

8
HOC
QR

Ret
HOC
CR

Ret
5th 24
2003 HWA Team AMG-Mercedes CLK 2003 HOC
4
ADR
7
NÜR
Ret
LAU
5
NOR
5
DON
1
NÜR
6
A1R
Ret
ZAN
5
HOC
1
5th 42
2004 HWA Team AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 2004 HOC
Ret
EST
7
ADR
3
LAU
5
NOR
10
SHA1
4
NÜR
7
OSC
10
ZAN
11
BRN
8
HOC
5
7th 19
2005 HWA Team AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 2005 HOC
1
LAU
7
SPA
4
BRN
9
OSC
13
NOR
Ret
NÜR
7
ZAN
Ret
LAU
8
IST
7
HOC
13
7th 22
2006 Persson Motorsport AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 2005 HOC
6
LAU
7
OSC
8
BRH
6
NOR
Ret
NÜR
4
ZAN
Ret
CAT
14
BUG
11
HOC
8
9th 15

1 - Shanghai was a non-championship round.

Complete American open-wheel racing results[edit]

(key)

IndyCar Series[edit]

Year Team Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Rank Points
2012 Fan Force United Lotus STP
ALA
LBH
SAO
INDY
33
DET
TXS
MIL
IOW
TOR
EDM
MDO
SNM
BAL
FON
34th 13

* Season in progress

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2012 Dallara Lotus 33 33 Fan Force United

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Yannick Dalmas
French Formula Three
Champion

1987
Succeeded by
Érik Comas
Preceded by
Roberto Moreno
International Formula 3000 Champion
1989
Succeeded by
Érik Comas
Preceded by
Cristiano da Matta
Fonsi Nieto
Gilles Panizzi
Race of Champions
Nations' Cup

2004 with:
Sébastien Loeb
Succeeded by
Mattias Ekström
Tom Kristensen
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ayrton Senna
Autosport
International Racing Driver Award

1989
Succeeded by
Ayrton Senna