Veteran racer Jean Alesi had an emotional time when he tested the McLaren MP4-16B at the Paul Ricard circuit in France yesterday. On a three day test for McLaren Mercedes the retired F1 driver ran a number of programmes, mainly tyre testing for ...
Veteran racer Jean Alesi had an emotional time when he tested the McLaren MP4-16B at the Paul Ricard circuit in France yesterday. On a three day test for McLaren Mercedes the retired F1 driver ran a number of programmes, mainly tyre testing for Michelin. In misty conditions he completed 45 laps, the wet weather being an advantage for Michelin to carry out tests on wet and intermidiate rubber.
"It was a very emotional day,’ said Alesi. "It was very strange to see my name on the car and on the car I had been trying for many years to beat when I was in a Ferrari or a Benetton. At Benetton I was always trying to beat this car. I had a very good day despite the weather because after not driving a Formula One car for six months I needed to start very slowly and I was gradually coming up to speed. For that reason it was nice that it was wet. I enjoyed it immensely and I have already started the test programme with the team. With a team like McLaren and a car like this it is always serious work and we always have a lot to test."
The French-Sicillian retired from F1 at the end of last year as the oldest driver in the sport, a point that did not sit well with him. He takes to the track on April 21st in DTM (German touring cars) with Mercedes and the 37 year old said driving the McLaren was no problem as he has been working on his fitness over the winter. "Physically I had no problem, I have been training as I am racing this year," he said. "It was an emotional moment to see the car in the garage and once in the cockpit it was back to business."
McLaren have stressed that Alesi testing for them will not become a regular event and although he continues on the programme today and tomorow he did not rule out further work for the Woking team. "I'll see what we have to do here and let's see what comes of it." Alesi said.