This weekend Jean Alesi will have notched up no less than 200 Grand Prix races, an impressive number of GP race starts which has been bettered by only four drivers - Patrese (256), Berger (210), De Cesaris (208) and Piquet (204). Jean Alesi 'The...
This weekend Jean Alesi will have notched up no less than 200 Grand Prix races, an impressive number of GP race starts which has been bettered by only four drivers - Patrese (256), Berger (210), De Cesaris (208) and Piquet (204).
'The last twelve years have gone so quickly, but I feel an incredible sense of achievement to have made it to my 200th Grand Prix,' commented Alesi. 'There are so many things that have happened over this time, making it impossible to sum up my Formula One memories in just a few words - a book wouldn't be enough! I think about how many times I have lined up on the grid, how many people I have met and the amazing times I have experienced, but mostly, I am so thankful that I have remained safe during my career as I have unfortunately witnessed some very sad accidents on the track.'
He continued, 'Indianapolis is a great place to celebrate my 200th Grand Prix as it's such a fantastic motorsport name steeped in racing history. It would be my dream to be on the podium there for this race. With the recent events in the United States however, a real celebration for my 200th GP race is relatively unimportant as nobody feels like celebrating. America is keen to welcome Formula One though so I am looking forward to Indianapolis where we hope to have a great race and bring enjoyment to our American fans.
'Eddie (Jordan) launched me into Formula One by arranging my drive with Tyrrell in 1989, and since then I have driven for all the teams I wanted to drive for. I still have the same passion for the sport that I had in the beginning and I believe this is one of the reasons I have survived so long in this sport - you have to give 100% otherwise you may as well give up. Being back with Jordan now, as I approach the end of F1 career in the next few years, is almost a dream come true. I would like to finish my career by racing for Jordan as I feel I have come full circle.'
'Racing at Indianapolis is a great experience - you're racing on such a historic circuit in front of 200,000 fans who pack out the grandstands. The track is quite complex with the very long and fast straight, followed by the infield which is quite slow and twisty so it's a challenge to find an ideal set-up. The track surface is built for Formula One, but it's great that the circuit still displays its history with the famous yard of bricks on the start/finish line. I'm hoping for an incident free race as I would like to make it to the finish at Indianapolis. I had to retire from last year's race after Button hit me, causing a mechanical problem with my car.'
'Last year's USGP at Indianapolis was a fabulous event and I'm sure it will be another great spectacle this year. There are varying opinions as to whether the F1 teams should be racing at Indianapolis following the tragic events in the States two weeks ago, but the American fans are keen to welcome Formula One this coming weekend and it is our belief at Jordan that the decision to race is absolutely correct. Racing in the US has an extra special meaning for Jordan because of the large Irish community resident in the States. We always get an extra special welcome as a result and of course, Jordan's first ever GP took place in America (Phoenix 1991) so this is another reason why we love returning to race there.'