AUGUST 9, 2001
Jordan and Alesi readjust to life
JEAN ALESI and Jordan will have a chance to dip a toe in the water of their new partnership before the Hungarian Grand Prix, thanks to a clause in the enforced 'holiday' during the three weeks between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix.
The Formula 1 teams are prohibited from testing per se, but are entitled to run in demonstrations or shakedown tests on the proviso that they cover no more than 50km (30 miles), and Alesi will shake down his EJ11 at Silverstone on Monday, 13 August. Despite the limited mileage available Alesi is upbeat: "It's not a big problem, though I'm keen to see what the car will do," he said.
The Jordan team's test driver, Ricardo Zonta, stood in for Frentzen twice this season in Canada after the effects of the German's heavy shunt in Monaco ruled him out of appearing and in Germany after his dismissal. The Brazilian former FIA GT champion gave a good account of himself in Canada but struggled in Germany and insists that he bears no ill towards being passed over in favor of Alesi's signing.
"I will go back to my testing program with the team," he said. "I can guarantee that I am working in an excellent atmosphere, but I also have to admit that I am already studying some possibilities to return to racing in Formula 1 in 2002."
The pressure is now on Alesi to prove that his signing is the salvation of Jordan's hopes to finish fourth in this year's constructors' title race behind Williams, McLaren and Ferrari. This means getting past Sauber and crucially the other Honda-powered team of British American Racing in what is an increasingly hard-fought group, but Alesi is fired up for the daunting challenge of the five remaining races of 2001.
"Budapest will certainly be a busy race for me," he said. I'll have to find my feet in the team and get to know my new surroundings as well as a new car. That's a lot to have to do over a Grand Prix weekend!"
The Frenchman is revelling in his return to the team which launched him into a stellar early F1 career during his F3000 title-winning year in 1989. Alesi made his Grand Prix debut in France with Tyrrell, finishing fourth, then began his first full season by dicing for the lead with Ayrton Senna in Phoenix.
"I found several of the mechanics from my F3000 days," Alesi bubbled. "On the canteen wall there's a photo of my 1989 car - it made me laugh, because I'd written 'Goodbye', on it when I left the team. I thought of taking it down and adding: 'Hi guys, I'm back!'"
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