The 15-year-old son of former Ferrari Formula 1 hero Jean Alesi made a fantastic, action-packed start to his racing career. Motorsport.com’s Emmanuel Rolland followed his every move…
In his first weekend competing in single-seaters, 15-year-old Giuliano Alesi won two races out of three in the opening French F4 meeting in Ledenon, making Jean Alesi’s son a clear title contender.
Carrying the same #27 as his father did at Ferrari 20 years ago, he took pole position for races one and three.
A dominant first win
On Saturday morning, Alesi had a strong start in race one, retaining the lead of the race. He gradually increased the gap to his rivals, winning in his very first car race ahead of Valentin Moineault.
“I felt comfortable in the car,” he told Motorsport.com. “It was a bit hard in the first few laps because my rivals wouldn’t let me pull away, but when I couldn’t see them anymore in my mirrors, I began to believe I could make it. I didn’t think I would win so early.”
“Before qualifying, I was hoping for a top five in the race, and it still was my aim after my two pole positions. Even I was surprised by my performance in this first round, but I just focused on my driving all along. It paid off.”
Because of the reversed grid, Alesi started race two in tenth position. In the thick of things, the teenager was involved in a collision and had to retire on the opening lap.
“Now, the context was a bit different because I was starting in the middle of the pack,” he said. “I went a bit wide in a corner and trying to straighten up, I went on the inside too much and hit another car that I had not seen.
“I’m the only one to blame. This is an incident I will learn from, and I will make sure it does not happen again.”
On the edge in torrential rain
On Sunday morning, while Alesi was about to start from pole position again, a huge downpour hit Ledenon. The Auto Sport Academy mechanics hastily put wet tyres on the cars, and the pack began to race with massive plumes of spray.
Apparently as comfortable in the rain as on a dry track, Alesi pulled away quite easily, leading by six seconds after four laps.
However, the conditions worsened and the pole-sitter made two mistakes. Still, there were no consequences as he was able to rejoin the track in the lead.
Stewards eventually made the call to red flag the race after five laps. Alesi therefore won for the second time in three races.
“I have always found it hard to race in the rain”, he explained. “I lacked points of reference in these conditions, because even though I had already driven in the wet in Le Mans, it was never in such conditions.
“Starting from pole position was very useful as it enabled me to build a gap. When I looked in my mirrors, I couldn’t even see the car behind me because of the water spray, so I can imagine how bad visibility was in the pack.”
“At some point, there were many puddles on the track and a lot of aquaplaning. I went off but I managed to rejoin through a run-off area.
“I was disappointed that the race was stopped so early, but I knew it was impossible to keep going that way. I am happy with this second victory, I am happy that I was able to win both on the dry and in the wet.”
With two poles and two wins, Alesi Jr could hardly hope for a better record in his first race weekend in single-seaters.
“Winning so early is something I did not necessarily expect, but I am not surprised either”, he said. “I worked a lot to get prepared for this season, so I knew it wouldn’t be impossible for me to be at the front.
“My father was more surprised. And very stressed during the races, especially race three!”