FEBRUARY 21, 2006

An interesting move from Direxiv

The announcement that Direxiv has signed up Jean Alesi to be its senior executive director is an interesting one as it underlines the Japanese company's desire to use motor racing to spread the word about the company. There were rumours back in September that the company was looking to start its own Formula 1 team, in league with McLaren, which led to denials that it was the second Honda team a few weeks later. The stories at the time said that the Japanese firm, which is fronted by beauty queen Misato Haga was in advanced negotiation for a five-year deal with McLaren. At the same time Alesi started turning up at Formula 1 races and spent most of his time with McLaren, which is not surprising given that he is a Mercedes-Benz DTM driver.

Clearly Direxiv has money to spend as last year it was funding four cars in GP2 and a Super GT Championship team in Japan. What is not clear is where this money comes from, beyond the fact that the firm appears to be some form of venture capital operation which encourages the development of business between Japan and Europe. It has invested in a number of luxury goods, cosmetics and service companies. The brands it is involved with include Daniele de Winter, a company that concentrates on the development, production and international distribution of proprietary natural skincare products, Ciribelli jewelery, Noene high tech soles, Your VIP Services, which leases private jets, and a company called World of Management.

"They are a young and dynamic company with big ambitions," says Alesi. "I am delighted we can work together to realize their motorsport objectives. It is exciting for me to work on the management side after so many years in the driving seat."

The logical conclusion in all of this is that Direxiv is still in the running to run a secondary McLaren-Mercedes F1 team when the rules allow for parts to be sold between teams.