It is now official: newly retired from Formula 1, former Jordan Grand Prix star Jean Alesi will race for Mercedes in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car) Championship next season.
"I am very happy to be joining Mercedes-Benz," said Alesi whose F1 career came to an end last season when his contract with the Jordan team wasn't renewed. He had started the campaign with the struggling Prost team, but later switched to Jordan for whom he had driven in Formula 3000 at the start of his career.
The 37-year-old was delighted after testing one of the 460bhp, rear-wheel-drive touring car recently, and has signed a two-year deal with the German outfit that has dominated the series so far with Bernd Schneider at the wheel.
Provided he can adapted to the DTM - many think his flamboyant tail-sliding style should suit the car perfectly - Alesi should be a huge boost to the series in terms of its popularity and competition. Tight packs and wheel banging are almost part of the game, something the Frenchman will likely enjoy.
"I'm very happy to join Mercedes," he said. "I've always liked the DTM with its close competition. Without the electronic aids assisting you in Formula 1 the cars are very challenging. I consider my DTM involvement to be a big challenge for my further racing career."
"In the last 13 years in Formula 1, Jean was always one of the fastest drivers and his style of driving and his personality is very much loved by the public," said Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug. "When the opportunity to contract Jean arose, we didn't hesitate."