Jean Alesi at Ferrari

Who doesn’t like to watch Jean Alesi drive a Formula 1 car? Just watch the video of Alesi’s Ferrari being chased by Senna in his McLaren to see what I mean.

Alesi vs. Senna, first laps Estoril 93 [HQ]

Jean Alesi (Ferrari) takes the lead with an incredible start, and gets chased by Ayrton Senna (McLaren)

He should have achieved so much, but somehow it never quite happened.  Despite spending several seasons at the sharp end of Formula 1 he never bettered 4th in any Championship year and ended his career with one victory to his name. Better than none, but back in 1990 the potential had seemed so much more…

There are many ‘ifs and buts’ in any driver’s Formula 1 career, and at Formula 1 Heroes we have set out to examine what might have happened if…

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Here are some other views from around the world on Jean Alesi’s career. Spectacular, yes, ultimately one of those potential World Champions who never quite made it. 

Jean Alesi Was Right To Go To Ferrari

I’m going to go back in time today and look at an item in history that I don’t think has ever really been resolved.

Come with me back to 1990 and imagine a young Jean Alesi – driver of the moment, the man who had impetuously passed Ayrton Senna’s McLaren in his little Tyrrell, the man surely destined to be a multiple grand prix and championship winner. The man who had somehow managed to sign himself to both Williams and Ferrari contracts at the same time and who now had to choose which one to go with. A contract hoo-haa erupted, but Ferrari were the eventual winners and young Alesi would be partnering his hero, Alain Prost – the world was at Alesi’s feet.

Fast Forward to the end of the 90s and there’s Jean once again, 1 grand prix victory under his belt, no championships and a bemused paddock wondering quite what had happened to the man destined to be one of the greats. During the same period, Williams had made world champions out of Mansell, Prost, Hill and Villenueve as well as winning 5 constructors championships. [Read more]


Jean Alesi T-Shirt (click the image to view)
Rare Jean Alesi book:
Jean Alesi: Red Missiles

Jean Alesi or Gerhard Berger?

[Answer 1] – I’ll go entirely the other way to jduck: Gerhard Berger, without question. The Alesi apologists always conveniently overlook that he was outperformed by Berger in almost every race of their time as teammates. In that time, Berger’s 2 wins, 4 poles and 5 fastest laps compared to Alesi’s 1 win, 2 poles and 3 fastest laps tells the story of who was consistently faster.

Yes, Alesi had a stunning debut, running second before finishing 4th in a decent but not world-beating Tyrrell. Yes he made Senna look silly at Phoenix in 1990. The problem is that those ended up being two of his career highlights, not the building blocks of the great career that everybody thought he was going to have at the time. Although Berger’s start in F1 wasn’t as fast, his performance curve continued upward for most of his career, with 1987-88 seeing him establish himself among the best drivers in the world – except for the blip where he ran into Senna at McLaren in 1990. Even alongside Mansell at Ferrari in 1989 he wasn’t outperformed – his only 3 finishes all season were a win and 2 second places, and at that time he was still seen as a potential champion. Once he found his place in the McLaren team he was able to perform creditably in a car which often struggled for pace

During their Ferrari years, Berger was generally faster in qualifying, usually able to keep the car on the track for longer, and made fewer mistakes. In my mind he was the number one driver, but the Ferraris broke so often that team orders never became an issue. When they moved to Benetton, the pendulum swung the other way as Berger’s career wound down to retirement: in 1997 there were several weekends where Berger may as well not have bothered coming along, which boost Alesi’s overall comparison stats somewhat. Alesi ended up having a similar slump in form towards the end of his career as well: being outqualified on several occasions by his teammates Diniz, Heidfeld and Burti spoke of a driver who was losing motivation as the results fell away.

[Answer 2] – To me stats never tell the whole story, Berger may of had around a dozen F1 wins but often had more competitive cars and could be considered an underachiever in some eyes to never of lifted a title.
I’ll always plump for Alesi as like a Minardi F1 car, the F1 grid was a more entertaining place with his presence, he was a plucky driver with amazing wet weather and overtaking skills, yes, he should of moved to Williams instead of Ferrari and yes he made dozens of dopey errors but that just seemed to make him more human than the Hakkinens, Schumacers, and in the latter years of his career, Berger.
I’d put his 1 and only F1 win at Canada 1995 in my top 5 of F1 moments I’ve witnessed.

[Answer 3] – Jean Alesi, no question……… he was one of the best ever drivers not to win the world championship….. more than capable of nailing Ayrton Senna (as he did in one of his early races).
Never lucky enough to get the right car to do the job properly. [Source]

What would have happened if Jean Alesi would have signed for Williams instead of Ferrari ?

I believe that he would have won 2 or 3 titles, but the disaster that struck Williams in 1994 wouldn’t have gone away. No idea if it could have struck Alesi if he had been in the Williams. [Source]

Ferrari F1 Sounds V12 Jean Alesi

Always ask for the headphones And the maximum volume It is always best!


Print of ‘Jean Alesi, 1990.’ in Black Frame

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One thought on “Jean Alesi at Ferrari

  1. Alesi or Berger?

    Berger was an experienced driver, Alesi a young fighter: Berger the water and Alesi the fire. When he was Senna’s teammate Berger never match him, he was regulary behind Nigel Mansell too. You should not forget that Berger was a lot more luky than Alesi during Ferrari years. In 1994, Alesi was injured and replaced by Larini during the first part of season (Private session mechanic failure) and once again he was very unlucky like in Monza.
    I had like a lot to see these two pilots in the same team, they were very complementary.

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