Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi, who retired from the sport at the end of last year, is looking for a competetive start to his new career in DTM, the German touring car series. Stepping down from F1 did not see Alesi idle and within six weeks...
Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi, who retired from the sport at the end of last year, is looking for a competetive start to his new career in DTM, the German touring car series. Stepping down from F1 did not see Alesi idle and within six weeks he was in talks with Mercedes Benz in veiw of a DTM drive. In 2002 he will race for Mercedes alongside current champion Bernd Schneider. He says team politics were what led him to leave F1 rather than wanting to stop racing.
"The reasons for the end of my Formula One career were to do with internal team decisions," he explained, "not because I didn't want to drive any more races, quite the opposite. Last season was something special, I never dreamed that I would change teams in the middle of the year from Prost to Jordan."
Although disappointed that Jordan did not keep him on as driver, Alesi says he was not angry about the situation. "No, I wasn't angry. I won in F3000 in 1989 with Eddie Jordan's team and we had a good time together. Therefore it was good that I could end my F1 career with the same team." On his decision to move to DTM the Frenchman said that outside of F1, German touring cars is the best series there is.
"After Formula One the DTM is the best racing series in terms of professionalism and competition. After talks with Norbert Haug ( Mercedes motorsport director ) and tests at Hockenheim I was quickly convinced I wanted to continue my career here. Driving the DTM Mercedes the first time was fun but I did terribly; brake and engine performance are the biggest difference to Formula One cars. But I look forward racing in DTM, I would like to be competetive and try right from the start to be near the front."
So, after many years as a racing driver what still motivates Alesi: "That's simple," He said, "motorsport is my life, I drive and fight with passion."