1990 Formula 1 Teams Jean Alesi
Races: 202Amato AlesiBy Jeremy McMullenPage: 1 2 next >>
Career Points: 241
It is entirely likely, throughout the entirety of European history, there has ever been a more Italian man than the Frenchman Jean Alesi. Undoubtedly due to his hard-charging style, the Tifosi would be left forlorn after his departure from the Scuderia in 1995. It would be a sentiment that would seem to follow him wherever he went. No matter the highs, or the numerous lows, Alesi retained a special place in everyone's heart.
The blurring of national identities would start from the very beginning. Birthed on the 11th of June, 1964 to Sicilian parents, Jean would actually be born Giovanni Alesi. The Italian roots were obvious. However, Giovanni would be born in Avignon, France, just about an hour north of Marseille. One couldn't get much more fleur-de-lys or vin than that. Thus, Giovanni would become Jean and the Sicilian side would be flavored with more than a pinch of French seasoning.
Initially, Alesi's affection would trend toward rallying. However, by the mid-1980s, he would be at the wheel of single-seaters getting his start in the French Renault 5 championship. Having practically no sponsorship money, Jean would have to earn everything on merit. This hard driving style would lead to a drive in Formula 3.
Jean would be immediately successful at the next level finishing as runner-up in the championship in his first full season in Formula 3. However, the following year, he would improve that much more and would end up taking the championship.
The championship meant a drive in Formula 3000. Driving for Oreca in 1988, the French-Sicilian would find the road much more difficult. The team's Reynard 88 would give them fits and would leave him struggling for even points-paying positions. Alesi's battling driving style would catch the eye of none other than the Irishman Eddie Jordan. Jordan's team would be one of the best teams in Formula 3000 and the French-Sicilian seemed the ideal fit. Therefore, Alesi would be offered a drive for 1989. This would be game-changing for Jean as it would not only renew his passion for motor racing, it would also provide opportunities he likely would not have had otherwise.
The 1989 season would start out strongly with a victory at Pau followed by a 2nd and two more victories, back-to-back, later on in the season. After a trying 1988 season, Alesi was clearly leading the way in the championship well before the last round of the championship.
|The success on the track would be opening doors Jean knew nothing about. Besides Formula One lying on the horizon, Alesi would join Team Schuppan driving a Porsche 962C in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.|
|2001||Jordan EJ11||Honda RA001E|
|1997||B197||Renault RS9 3.0 V10|
|1996||B196||Renault RS8 3.0 V10|
|1995||Ferrari 412 T2||Ferrari 044/1 3.0 V12|
|1994||412T1||Ferrari 043 3.5 V12|
|1994||412T1B||Ferrari 043 3.5 V12|
|1993||Ferrari F93A||Ferrari 041 3.5 V12|
|1992||FA92A||Ferrari 038 3.5 V12|
|1991||643||Ferrari 037 3.5 V12|
|1991||642/2||Ferrari 037 3.5 V12|
|1991||Ferrari 642||Ferrari 037 3.5 V12|
|1991||Ferrari 641/2||Ferrari 037 3.5 V12|
|1990||019||Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8|
|1990||Tyrrell 018||Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8|
|1989||Tyrrell 018||Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8|
|1989||017B||Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8|
Co-driving with Will Hoy and Dominic Dobson, Alesi appeared to have a chance at conquering Le Mans. Unfortunately, after just 69 laps, his race would come to an end. It would also spell the end of Alesi's career at Le Mans for more than two decades.
At the same time Alesi's career was on the rise, Michele Alboreto would depart Tyrrell just prior to the French Grand Prix. Desperate to find a driver that could come in without much notice and be fast, Tyrrell would give the nod to Alesi. He seemed the perfect man to fill the role. It was the French Grand Prix and Jean was a Frenchman from the same vein as those that sacrificed so dearly during the French Revolution. The French already had the calculating professor Alain Prost. What they really needed was a Louis IX, a man not afraid to charge into seemingly impossible odds and fight the very best. Alesi was that man.
Jean would immediately make his mark. Despite driving an inferior car, he would guide the Tyrrell 018 to a fine 4th place finish. Bearing a helmet design resurrecting Elio de Angelis' memory, Jean had arrived in Formula One and two more points-paying finishes in Italy and Spain would only cement that fact. Tyrrell had visions of reclaiming former grandeur. It also needed to survive. In Alesi, the team saw a man that could do both. Therefore, he would be retained for the 1990 season. Firmly implanted within the team, everyone in and around Formula One looked forward to what Jean could do. Yes, Senna and Prost dominated the headlines, but Alesi seemed poised to take advantage of any misstep.
Any misstep…Jean would prove in the very first race of the 1990 season, the United States Grand Prix, that he wouldn't need a misstep. He would simply earn the results by sheer determination.
In his debut for Tyrrell the year before, Alesi would run as high as second place at one point behind Alain Prost. At Phoenix, Alesi would take the lead straightaway and would brilliantly battle with none other than Aryton Senna to retain the lead. Lap after lap, Alesi would prove the Brazilian's equal. Senna would take the lead, but Alesi would battle back to retake the spot. It wouldn't be until lap 35 that Alesi lost the lead for good. He would finish 2nd that day, but in the minds of Formula One fans the world over they had found Gille Villeneuve reborn.
Aided by the revolutionary 019, Jean would prove the performance on the streets of Phoenix was not a figment of anyone's imagination. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Alesi would stick the car third on the grid right beside Prost. Nothing, not even a balked start that would erase a fine move on Prost to take over second place, could hold Alesi back who would end up performing brilliantly to finish second yet again!
Jean was intriguing. Here was the man of mixed descent mixing it up with the very best so early in his career. It appeared another champion had entered the picture, one who drove hard and fought for everything he got precisely because he didn't have the best car on the grid. This endeared him to the fans and only seemed to signal a career filled with victory after victory.
Although he would start the 1990 season with two second place finishes out of the first four races, the remainder of the season would not be kind to the V8-powered Tyrrell. No more points would befall Jean and he would finish the year 9th in the standings, but the Frenchman had made his mark and he had garnered the attention of a very important team.
Scuderia Ferrari had their hard-charging lion and the Tifosi loved him. However, in 1991, Nigel Mansell would semi-retire from racing and would end up with Williams. This left a seat open at Ferrari, but it was necessary to fill that seat with a man that Enzo Ferrari would have loved. The answer was simple.
Alesi would join Ferrari for the start of the 1991 season. At the time, the team appeared to be one of the best in Formula One. However, as the season wore on, the Maranello outfit began to slip from the top-tier ranks. Before the end of the season, Alain Prost would be sacked for criticism of the car. Jean would be happy to earn three 3rd place finishes…all was beginning to go wrong at the Scuderia.
Driving for Ferrari had always had an aura to it. Sadly, it was becoming a liability to Alesi's career. The raving supporters desperately needed someone they could cling on to in hope. The French-Sicilian would fill that role and would forever be changed by the experience.Page: 1 2 next >>