Teams Jean Alesi
Races: 202Amato AlesiBy Jeremy McMullenPage: << prev 1 2
Career Points: 241
Alesi's time at Ferrari was a difficult one. Before coming to the team he had been tipped for greatness. He should have been losing count of victories. Instead, he would find himself without one right up through the 1994 season, but he understood his role. He understood what he needed to do. He needed to keep the ship afloat anyway he knew how. Thankfully, in 1995, Jean would be rewarded for his sacrifice and the Tifosi would forever enshrine him within their hearts.
Ferrari would introduce its 412T2 at the start of the 1995 season. And, while conventional in its appearance to its competitors, it did represent a step in the right direction. The fruits of the team's labors would be immediate. Alesi would manage a 5th place result in the Brazilian Grand Prix and would follow those up with two-straight second place finishes. The strong start would continue through the next couple of races. Then the season arrived in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The starting grid for the race appeared normal enough with Michael Schumacher on pole with Damon Hill alongside in second. Jean Alesi would start the race from a rather demure 5th place on the grid just looking to get back on track after a couple of bad races. However, after just a few laps, the normal would turn strange as Alesi would begin turning fastest laps of the race and would start to draw in Hill and Schumacher at the front of the field.
Schumacher would respond and it looked, early on, as though the German was going to run away with the race. Hill dropped behind Alesi with problems but the Benetton had a seemingly insurmountable lead, that is, until, an electrical problem slowed the World Champion. Suddenly, Alesi found himself in the lead of the race without any real competition. After years of hard work and numerous second places, Jean could look after his Ferrari and relatively cruise to his first victory in Formula One.
Two more second place finishes in the British and European Grand Prix meant Alesi finished the season 5th in the standings, tying his personal best in Formula One.
Sadly, the victory in Canada would be the highlight of what would be the final season with Scuderia Ferrari. Alesi had helped the team weather the storm, but the team was looking at another to take them back to prominence. Negotiations would take place and the result would be, in the end, a swap. Schumacher would come to Ferrari, Alesi would move to Benetton.
|Departing Scuderia Ferrari after the 1995 season likely brought about forlorn hearts among the Tifosi, especially after his most successful season with the team. Unfortunately for Alesi, allegiances would quickly turn. Still, Jean would find good pasture with Benetton. After a flurry of podium results at the wheel of the B196, he would finish the 1996 season 4th in the standings, his best ever in Formula One. He would follow it up with another 4th in the standings the very next year.|
|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|
Jean's arrival at Benetton would be similar to that of Ferrari. Despite his best ever results in the World Championship, Benetton was a team on the decline. This left Jean looking for another competitive drive. Suddenly, the man that many had tipped to be a multiple race winner and possible World Champion would be starving for a competitive drive.
Alesi would join Red Bull Sauber Petronas in 1998 and would manage to pull off an incredible 3rd place in the Belgian Grand Prix, but it would be the only time over the remaining four years of his Formula One career the Frenchman would ever stand on the podium. It would be one of the few times in which he would even score a championship point.
Jean Alesi's Formula One career would come to an end at the end of the 2001 season while driving with Jordan Honda after two disappointing seasons with Prost. Alesi would finish his Formula One career much the same way he had begun it—with Eddie Jordan. Eddie had believed in him and had a special place in his heart for him. Jean would repay that favor with a 6th place result in the Belgian Grand Prix and an unfortunate bow-out in the Japanese Grand Prix.A Formula One career at an end, Jean had to look for another way in which to exercise his need for speed. In 2002, this desire to keep racing would lead to a drive with the HWA Team in the DTM series.
The DTM series offered Alesi a fresh challenge in a competitive, but much more relaxed setting than the highly secretive world of Formula One. Alesi would relish this new opportunity and would thrive having a competitive drive. Proving that he was not at all too old, Jean would end up fifth in the series standings in 2002 having scored two wins out of 20 races.
The following season there would be just a total of ten rounds of the championship. Yet, despite the fewer chances for victory, Alesi would still come through to score two victories and would end up 5th in the championship once again.
The next couple of seasons with the HWA Team would not be as fruitful and competitive. Over the course of twenty-two rounds Jean would score a number of top ten results but the victories would be hard to come by. Nonetheless, at the first round of the 2005 season Jean would come through to take what was his fifth DTM victory.
Following what would end up being a rather uncompetitive 2006 season driving for Persson Motorsport, Alesi would leave DTM and would seek out pastures new, and some old.
In 2010, Jean would lend his talents to the AF Corse sportscar team. Alesi was back with Ferrari and it was an exciting situation. Driving with fellow former Formula One driver Giancarlo Fisichella and Tony Vilander, Alesi would finally get that result at Le Mans he had missed out on some 20 years earlier. Sharing driving duties in a F430, Alesi would help the team complete 323 laps and finish 4th in class.
Having survived Le Mans, Jean looked to the other race as part of motorsport's triple crown, the Indianapolis 500.
Gaining a spot in the 33 car field would not be easy and it would come down to a last minute qualifying run to garner the final spot on the grid. In spite of the more than a quarter of a million spectators present, there was really nothing Alesi could do to delight the crowd. The only tool that would be available to him to delight the crowd was his famous name as his race would come to an end after just a dozen laps as a result of a car that could not maintain a high enough average speed to stay in the race. It would be a truly disappointing Indianapolis experience watching a man that had stunned crowds the world over with his hard-charging driving style struggle so much at the tail-end of the field. But, to Jean, he had done it. He had raced at Indy. It was enough; Jean would step away from racing after that.
Jean would only step away from racing behind the wheel. From 2013 onwards he would serve as an ambassador for Pirelli, Lotus and would be a somewhat familiar sight around the Formula One paddock.
However, Jean also enjoyed a rather quieter life outside of racing as well. Married to Japanese model and singer Kumiko Goto, Jean continues to live just outside of his native Avignon and has become a well-respected connoisseur of wine owning his own vineyard.
Were he to have never taken part in a Formula One race, the motorsports community would have been at a lost and it never would have known it. Charismatic and passionate, hard-working and humble, there was so much to love watching Alesi do battle out on track. Perhaps the champion that was never really given the opportunity, Jean never seemed to mind and, instead, relished those hard days carrying the fragile hopes of fans the world over. For that, in many respects, he will always be the beloved peoples' champion.Page: << prev 1 2 Sources:
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