In a moment of candour, speaking at a press conference in Tokyo held by Bridgestone, Jean Alesi announced his retirement from racing in F1. His words came as a shock to many, but if analysed carefully, simply confirm what he has said on previous...
In a moment of candour, speaking at a press conference in Tokyo held by Bridgestone, Jean Alesi announced his retirement from racing in F1. His words came as a shock to many, but if analysed carefully, simply confirm what he has said on previous occasions - that if he is not racing for Jordan in 2002 then he doesn't want to race for another team. "I won't race next year," Alesi stated, "but it is not completely clear what I will do. But for sure I won't drive in F1."
Following the announcement earlier in the day that Sato has been signed as racing driver for Jordan in 2002 to partner Fisichella, Alesi's position as a racer with the Silverstone based team became clear. There are moves, however, between Alesi and Jordan, to maintain a relationship for the future. "It is our wish," said Eddie Jordan, "to continue working with Jean. He has so much experience and knowledge still to give Formula One."
Jordan and Alesi met in person today for the first time since the decision was taken to sign Sato. "Jean has been fantastic about everything," said Jordan. "He understands the reasons for our decision. For me personally, it was a very tough decision to make because Jean is such a dear friend. There is not a bad bone in his body. But we have had to re-structure for the future and Jean understands that."
Alesi made his comments whilst on stage with team-mate Jarno Trulli, Eddie Jordan and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Jean Todt, in front of several hundred media attending the Bridgestone press conference. After he spoke, Eddie Jordan asked the assembled press and VIP's to give Alesi a special round of applause for his contribution to Formula One. Alesi is one of only five drivers to have completed 200 Grands Prix. This weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, now it seems, Jean's last, will be his 201st race.