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Alesi feeling Super Formula title "expectations" at TOM'S

Giuliano Alesi is convinced he has the potential to be part of this year’s Super Formula title battle, after being handed the chance to race full-time for TOM’S in 2022.

Giuliano Alesi, Kuo VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

The son of ex-Formula 1 racer Jean made five starts in Japan’s premier open-wheel series last year, filling in at TOM’S when the team’s regular driver Kazuki Nakajima was away on FIA World Endurance Championship duties.

Alesi won in just his second start in torrential conditions at Autopolis, and also claimed four victories in his main Super Formula Lights programme on his way to runner-up in the series.

Having been selected to replace the now-retired two-time champion Nakajima for a full-time TOM’S berth this season, Alesi acknowledged he has a “responsibility” to help lead the flagship Toyota team to more title success.

He said he is also relishing being able to focus on one championship after a season of switching back and forth between Super Formula and its support series, something he felt hurt his performances last year.

“Kazuki has had a huge career, with his past he is a big name in Japan and internationally as well,” Alesi told Motorsport.com.

“The fact I’ve been given the chance to drive his car full-time this year is a big responsibility and also a big excitement.

“I feel we’re already working well towards this year, and compared to last year I feel more comfortable and my focus is more clear. It’s good to have a full pre-season of testing this year too.

 

“Setting a specific objective is difficult, but my personal objective is always to win and aim to become champion, because I am racing for one of the top teams in Japan and the potential is there.

“I feel it’s my duty to put everything together and optimise the package that we have.”

Alesi will combine his Super Formula drive this year with a first season in SUPER GT’s top GT500 class, having been handed the chance to partner reigning champion Sho Tsuboi in the #1 TOM’S GR Supra.

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He’s set for his first taste of the GT500 car when private manufacturer testing begins next week.

Now he has achieved his stated goal of landing top drives in both of Japan’s top categories, Alesi says he hopes to emulate another previous TOM’S Super Formula champion, Andre Lotterer, and enjoy a long, successful spell on the domestic scene.

“It’s up to me to deliver the results and live up to expectations in order to make that happen,” said the 22-year-old. “I have to work as hard as possible, but it’s definitely an objective to keep in mind.

“Now I have [the two seats] I will give everything I have because I’m more motivated than ever and I really want to make this work.”

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