Jean Alesi

Jean Alesi

Jean Alesi burst onto the F1 scene with Tyrrell in 1989. A fourth place finish on his debut at Paul Ricard in France signalled that this was a star of the future.

He continued to impress throughout his first full season in 1990, memorably re-passing Ayrton Senna for the lead in Pheonix. He wielded the nimble Tyrrell to especially impressive effect in Monaco, where he finished second.

Alesi had multiple offers from front-running teams to consider for 1991. Williams was on an upward awing and would be champions again within a couple of years. But for Alesi the lure of Ferrari was too strong to resist.

However the team which challenged McLaren for the championships in 1990 were about to enter one of their longest win-less runs. Alesi endured a series of poor cars before the team finally found its feet again under Jean Todt in the mid-nineties.

Finally, at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1995, Alesi claimed his first win. But having endured uncompetitive Ferraris for so long he departed the team as Michael Schumacher arrived and they were poised for championship successes.

For 1996 he and team mate Gerhard Berger moved to Benetton. But they were outclassed by their Renault-engined rivals Williams and no more wins came Alesi’s way, though he narrowly lost out to David Coulthard at Monza in 1997.

Two years with Sauber followed in which he gave them their best ever qualifying result – second – at Austria in 1998.

He moved to the failing Prost team in 2000 and never scored. In 2001, with Ferrari engines, a few points came their way but he grabbed the chance of driving for Jordan when it came.

It was the end of the line, though, and Alesi left to shortly find a new start in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).

In 2012 he made his first appearance in the Indianapolis 500, driving a Lotus-powered car as part of his role with the company.

His son Giuliano later started a motor racing career of his own and made it as far as Formula 2.

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