Honda website
Honda website

AUGUST 13, 2001

Alesi's surprise announcement

HAVING barely contained his enthusiasm for the move to Jordan already, Jean Alesi bubbled further about his deal with his new team during an interview on French TV with the declaration that a contract is in place for him to remain with the team in 2002.

This runs a little contrary to Eddie Jordan's announcement that Alesi would be in place for the last five events of 2001, without giving any commitment to his driver line-up for 2002.

"Jean's contracted just until the end of the season to see how we both work together because it's becoming more and more difficult," said Jordan. "The pressures are enormous on everybody, Jean is not getting younger of course, and Jordan are getting impatient."

If Alesi is indeed in possession of a contract for 2002 - whether signed or unsigned - this adds to the pressure on Jarno Trulli to make his mind up about what to do about his employment situation.

Currently he holds the key to almost every significant driving post in the sport, with Honda's Formula 3 ace Takuma Sato, CART frontrunner Dario Franchitti and Benetton's current driver line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button all alleged to be jostling for position should the man from Pescara opt to jump ship.

Renault Sport principal Flavio Briatore has long held that Trulli should join him next season, but Fisichella has silenced many critics this year with a series of impressive showings against last season's undoubted star arrival Button.

The young Englishman, meanwhile, has also shown true character in first of all admitting his weaknesses in dealing with the recalcitrant Benetton-Renault this season and then taking giant strides towards Fisichella's pace in recent events.

Trulli, who has not been short of criticism for the Jordan team this year, has shown an increasingly diplomatic streak and the current feeling is that there will be a degree of status quo. That being the case, the much-hyped Sato may well be forced to abandon Honda if he is to carry the momentum through to a Formula 1 drive in 2002, and yet again Franchitti will have to be content with his lot in the USA.

Alesi meanwhile will make his 30-mile shakedown run in the Jordan at Silverstone today (Monday).