BIOGRAPHY
Full Name Giovanni Roberto Alesi
Nationality French
Born 11 June 1964, Avignon
Died
Website
Twitter
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PRE-F1 CAREER
Season Series Team Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1983 Renault 5 Turbo Cup ? ? ? 1 1 ? ? 7th
1984 French Formula Renault ? 12 0 0 0 0 25 10th
1985 French Formula Renault ? 12 0 0 5 0 64 5th
1986 Formula 3 European Cup
French Formula 3
Macau Grand Prix
José Alesi 1
11
1
0
3
0
0
2
0
0
7
0
0
2
0
0
95
10th
2nd
8th
1987 French Formula 3
Monaco Formula 3 GP
ORECA 13
1
5
0
7
0
10
1
3
0
144
1st
2nd
1988 International F3000
Macau Grand Prix
ORECA
Alesi Junior Team
11
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
11
10th
11th
1989 International F3000
Japanese F3000
Le Mans 24 Hours (C1)
Eddie Jordan Racing
Team Kygnus Tonen
Takefuji Porsche 962C
9
2
1
2
0
0
3
0
0
4
0
0
1
0
39
0
1st
NC
DNF
FORMULA 1 CAREER
Entries Races Non-Starts Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts DNFs
202 201 1 2 1 32 4 241 87
First Grand Prix Last Grand Prix
1989 French Grand Prix 2001 Japanese Grand Prix
Season Team Chassis Engine Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1989 Tyrrell 018 Ford Cosworth 3.5 V8 8 0 0 0 0 8 9th
1990 Tyrrell 018
019
Ford Cosworth 3.5 V8 2
13
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
6
7
9th
1991 Ferrari 642/2
643
Ferrari 3.5 V12 5
11
0
0
0
0
1
2
1
0
5
16
7th
1992 Ferrari F92A
F92AT
Ferrari 3.5 V12 11
5
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
13
5
7th
1993 Ferrari F93A Ferrari 3.5 V12 16 0 0 2 0 16 6th
1994 Ferrari 412T1
412T1B
Ferrari 3.5 V12 4
10
0
1
0
0
2
2
0
0
13
11
5th
1995 Ferrari 412T2 Ferrari 3.0 V12 17 0 1 5 1 42 5th
1996 Benetton B196 Renault 3.0 V10 16 0 0 8 2 47 4th
1997 Benetton B197 Renault 3.0 V10 17 1 0 5 0 36 4th
1998 Sauber C17 Petronas 3.0 V10 16 0 0 1 0 9 11th
1999 Sauber C18 Petronas 3.0 V10 16 0 0 0 0 2 15th
2000 Prost AP03 Peugeot 3.0 V10 17 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2001 Prost
Jordan
AP04
EJ11
Acer 3.0 V10
Honda 3.0 V10
12
5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
1
15th
POST-F1 CAREER
Season Series Team Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
2002 DTM HWA AMG 20 1 2 4 1 24 5th
2003 DTM HWA AMG 10 0 2 2 0 42 5th
2004 DTM HWA AMG 11 2 0 1 0 19 7th
2005 DTM HWA AMG 11 0 1 1 0 22 7th
2006 DTM Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 15 9th
2008 Speedcar Series Speedcar Team 10 1 2 5 1 40 4th
2009 Speedcar Series HPR 9 0 3 3 1 38 5th
2010 Le Mans 24 Hours (GT2)
Le Mans Series (LMGT2)
AF Corse Ferrari 1
5
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
66
2nd
4th
2012 Indianapolis 500 Fan Force United 1 0 0 0 0 33rd


Biography

That the exceptionally popular and mercurial French-Sicilian ended his 201-Grand Prix career with just a single race win does scant justice to the amazing flair and talent this man possessed behind the wheel.

That one, long-overdue victory came on his 31st birthday, at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, where he benefited from the misfortune of others to claim an emotion-charged and extremely popular victory. Fittingly, he was driving the famous #27 Ferrari, a car made all the more iconic given it too was piloted by Canada’s late favourite son, Gilles Villeneuve – like the Canadian, Alesi was a showman: a mercurial, exciting and aggressive racer.

Born in Avignon of Sicilian descent, Alesi shot to prominence with some outstanding performances in a self-entered Dallara in the French Formula 3 championship, finishing runner-up in 1986 behind Yannick Dalmas.  The following year, he joined the crack ORECA team, guiding it to its fifth successive title with six consecutive wins.

He stayed with ORECA as he graduated to the International Formula 3000 championship, but his momentum appeared to stall as he became increasingly disenchanted – not for the last time in his career – with how things were panning out. He finished a disappointing tenth overall…

A lifeline was offered by Eddie Jordan for 1989, and the gleeful Alesi slotted straight into the smaller outfit, romping to an unassailable lead in the championship race at two-thirds distance. He won the title despite being absent for the final rounds – by that point he’d made a sensational Formula 1 debut.

Jean Alesi, Tyrrell Ford 018 - 1990 United States Grand Prix

Alesi famously battled Ayrton Senna for the lead of the 1990 United States Grand Prix.

That opportunity came when Michele Alboreto fell out with Tyrrell and a vacancy appeared for his home race, the French Grand Prix.  With next to no testing, Alesi promptly outperformed his established teammate Jonathan Palmer and finished fourth on debut, running as high as second midway through the race.

Offered a full-time drive for the 1990 season, more strong results followed: famously battling for the lead with Ayrton Senna at Phoenix (pictured right), and harrying the McLaren legend over the finish line at Monaco were two standouts.

Clearly, he was a fearless young driver going places, but equally prone to moments of overreach such as when he clumsily spun out of the Italian Grand Prix trying to keep pace with the McLarens.

Ferrari and Williams both moved in with big-dollar offers on the cards for 1991. Alesi initially signed with Williams, but the lure of joining the Prancing Horse as Alain Prost’s teammate proved too much…

While Williams sailed on to become the dominant team of the 1990s, Ferrari lurched from disaster to disaster, and poor Alesi’s promise was time and time again undone by the struggles of the cars, or internal politicking at the Maranello team.  There were occasional highlights, such as his superb podium at the wet 1992 Spanish Grand Prix in the awful ‘twin floor’ F92A.

Despite his and Ferrari’s lack of success, Alesi signed on for a further two years in the hope that the recent arrival of Jean Todt as Team Principal would bring about the restructure and results that the outfit so desperately needed.

Jean Alesi, Scuderia Ferrari 412T2 - 1995 Canadian Grand Prix

Alesi’s one and only Grand Prix victory came in 1995.

His 1994 campaign was interrupted early on by an injury sustained in a testing accident that sidelined him for two Grands Prix. His return to the cockpit saw a succession of self-induced retirements and engine troubles before he plonked the recalcitrant 412T1B on pole at Ferrari’s home race in Italy. On course for his maiden victory, his hopes imploded along with his gearbox during his pit stop.

That first – and only – win finally came his way in 1995, but by then his volatility had seen him fall out with Todt. Ferrari signed Michael Schumacher from Benetton, and Alesi took up the German’s vacant seat for the 1996 season.

The team had just won successive Drivers’ Championships with Schumacher and with the team’s strong technical leadership of Ross Brawn, Pat Symonds and Rory Byrne, Alesi looked a realistic chance of being a serious World Championship contender in 1996.  Predictably, however, Alesi continued his pattern of blinding brilliance and stupidity, with the team quickly realising that he wasn’t the calibre of the departed Schumacher.

There were few seats available for 1998 and so he signed on at Sauber. There were, as expected, a number of stand-out performances with the highlights being a wet-weather front-row start in Austria and a podium at the soaking Belgian Grand Prix.  His second season saw him mired in the midfield and he became increasingly disenchanted with the team’s inability to progress.  The feeling was mutual and he announced his exit from the team after retiring from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Jean Alesi, Prost Peugeot AP03 - 2000 French Grand Prix

Alesi struggled with the awful Prost Peugeot AP03.

He jumped at the opportunity to join friend and former Ferrari teammate Alain Prost’s eponymous team for the 2000 season.  The Peugeot-powered AP03 was a very poor car and for the first time in Alesi’s career he failed to score a points’ finish all season.

He opted to stay put at the team with the switch to Acer-badged Ferrari engines promising much, and the new AP04 was rapid in pre-season testing.  It was all a lie, however, as the team ran its car underweight in a desperate bid to get more sponsors.  Alesi once again struggled to make an impression but picked up a sixth place at the Monaco Grand Prix.  Further points’ finishes came at Canada and Germany.

With the Jordan squad having fired Heinz-Harald Frentzen ahead of the latter race, Alesi saw this as an opportunity to reunite with his former F3000 boss. He negotiated an early release from his contract with Prost (which took on Frentzen) and would see out the rest of the 2001 season in the yellow Honda-powered cars.  He picked up a single point with an eighth place at Indianapolis, and the curtain came down on his Grand Prix career at Suzuka when he was an innocent victim in a huge accident when Kimi Räikkönen lost control of his Sauber.

Alesi signed a contract in 2002 to be McLaren’s test driver, and the Woking squad’s connections with Mercedes-Benz helped him land a top-tier seat with the factory HWA squad in the DTM touring car championship.  He spent four seasons with the team, collecting four fine wins and earning plenty more fans with an exuberant driving style that was at odds with the more technically-oriented series.

He was demoted to the second-tier Persson Motorsports team for the 2006 season and, disenchanted with Mercedes’ treatment, he left the championship at the end of the year.

An attempt to set up a McLaren ‘B’ team in F1 stalled in the final stages and Alesi signed on to join the new Speedcar Series alongside a number of other ex-F1 drivers to race modified NASCAR machinery in support races at selected Middle Eastern and Asian based Grands Prix.  His ‘win or bust’ approach was as spectacular as ever, claiming a pair of wins in each of the 2008 and 2009 seasons he contested.

In 2010, he partnered Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander in a factory-backed GT Ferrari in the Le Mans Series. The trio claimed a number of podium finishes to secure second overall in the GT2 standings.

Then in 2011, Alesi emerged as a brand ambassador for Lotus and later in the year he announced his plans to contest the following year’s Indianapolis 500 with a Lotus-powered entry.  At nearly 48 years of age and with no oval racing experience, this seemed am ambitious move, to say the least.  In the end, it was an embarrassment: he scraped onto the grid as the slowest qualifier and was forced to park his severely underpowered car after less than a dozen laps in the race because he was too slow.  He announced his retirement from racing at the end of the year.

A wine connoisseur and vineyard owner near his home town of Avignon, Alesi now oversees the racing career of his son Giuliano.

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