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Prime

When F1’s crazy horse joined the Prancing Horse

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Jean Alesi made an immediate impact in Formula 1 when he arrived with Tyrrell, but his decision to join Ferrari instead of a resurgent Williams for 1991 was ill-judged as the Scuderia became engulfed with political in-fighting that resulted from an underdeveloped car...

Following Ferrari’s title near miss with Alain Prost in 1990, after Ayrton Senna’s professional foul at Suzuka, star rookie Jean Alesi stepped up to the big time from Tyrrell to join fellow countryman Prost at the Scuderia for ’91. Instead of serving up further success, however, Ferrari dished out political disarray, technical disorder and tifosi disappointment.

The Senna/McLaren-Honda axis hit its heights that season and Ferrari refugee Nigel Mansell (never one to pass up an opportunity to carry a chip on his shoulder) revelled in leading an ascendant, if fragile, Williams. At Ferrari, Prost went winless for the first time since his rookie F1 season and would be fired before the year was out. Alesi’s rising star was clouded out of sight – although he would certainly have won at Spa-Francorchamps but for yet another engine failure.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Jean Alesi
Author Charles Bradley