Interview with Jean Alesi and Giuliano Alesi

Wilhelm
Interview with Jean Alesi and Giuliano Alesi
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I n Monza you were in the paddock together. Which of you had to sign more autographs?

Jean Alesi: (Laughs.) That's not fair. Of course I do. But this is not about a competition between father and son. I am so proud to introduce my son to other people.

Giuliano Alesi: A crowd quickly forms with my father. Especially in Italy. But people are starting to recognize me. Especially when I'm out with him. I also always wear a Ferrari Academy shirt to the racetrack. That's how people now recognize me. And the similarity cannot be dismissed out of hand.

What do you know about your father's career?

Giuliano Alesi: I've seen every one of his races on Youtube. And of course he also told me how he started back then. Not until late at 16 in the kart. We also talked a lot about the mistakes he made. Of course that helps me too.

What do you think when you see pictures of him like this?

Giuliano Alesi: This time must have been exciting. Everything was a little different then. From today's perspective, I would have been a little more worried then. The security left a lot to be desired. The drivers were up to their shoulders in the open air. Racing has become much safer today.

Is that one reason why your parents let you practice this sport too?

Giuliano Alesi: No, my father never pushed me. He always said: “If you want to do that, I'll be by your side. But if I suspect that you're not one hundred percent behind it, I will stop. I don't waste my time. »

Jean Alesi: That's right. I would be the worst father if I introduced my son into such a world just because I wanted to. If the other boys his age told me at school on Monday what they did over the weekend and Giuliano had to ask himself why I am doing this kind of racing, then I would blame myself. This discipline - it has to come from you. You can, you are not allowed to push.

Is your father afraid when you get in?

Giuliano Alesi: When I drove straight into the gang in Austria because the brakes failed, he was scared. Because, of course, as a racing driver, he knows exactly how it feels. But then he got himself back when he saw that I was okay. I also have to say that it was my worst accident so far. I rolled over once. But that was still in the kart.

Jean Alesi: As a father, I experience it very differently today. In my day I didn't know fear. I've only known them since Giuliano started driving.

Are you doing something about this fear? Giuliano feels that too. And that could affect its performance.

Jean Alesi: There is nothing you can do about that. And yes, it's true: that could affect him. That's why I'm holding back as much as possible. There are days at the racetrack when I might see him. In the race, I go on the starting grid. But then I disappear again.

When was the first time you saw your father's race live?

Giuliano Alesi: That was at a DTM race. I was five or six. I don't know anything about Formula 1 anymore. My father stopped doing it at the end of 2001. I was two years old then.

Jean Alesi: I took him to Estoril for an F1 test in 2000. There is even a photo of it standing in my cockpit and barely looking over the edge. He was one year old then.

Did you like the atmosphere?

Giuliano Alesi: Back then at the DTM? Yes, and how! I was in the box the whole time. I soaked it all up. Whenever I was hungry or thirsty, I ran into the motorhome - and immediately back again. I didn't want to miss anything.

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The similarity is not to be overlooked. Giuliano Alesi wants to follow in his father's footsteps.

Did you decide that one day you would will do the same thing as your father?

Giuliano Alesi: I don’t remember exactly. This environment was just completely normal for me. I grew up in the middle of it and made myselfno thoughts. When I was five years old, my father bought me a buggy. With whom I plowed through the garden. And I did some bad crashes.

Jean Alesi: (Holds his hands in front of his face.) Yes, there were a few dicey moments. Everything I bought him on wheels had to have seat belts. Otherwise it would have caught the eye at some point.

When did it get serious?

Giuliano Alesi: When I was 13. I started karting.

But that was your will, your free decision?

Giuliano Alesi: Yes, absolutely.

What advice does your father give you?

Giuliano Alesi : He looks at everything very carefully. On the TV screens and along the way. And then he'll tell me where I'm losing time. He also gives tips on how I should behave. Who I am particularly nice to deal with.

Jean Alesi: When it comes to car control, I can support him. After all, physics has not changed. He has to find the feeling for his driving style himself.

Your father was known for a very spectacular driving style. Yours is more adapted to the times.

Giuliano Alesi: With today's tires, you can no longer afford such a wild driving style. It would still be conceivable in the two-liter Renault. There the tires can take more. But not in the GP3. And certainly not in Formula 1.

Would your dad be lost with his driving style these days?

Giuliano Alesi: Not necessarily. He would have adjusted his driving style. If I were to drive one of his cars, my driving style wouldn't get very far either. As a driver, you always have to adapt.

Jean Alesi: The regulations determine the driving style. If I had had tires like Giuliano, I would have had to drive differently. But in my day the tires weren't the tip of the line.

From what point did you go faster than Jean in the kart?

Giuliano Alesi: We only drove against each other once. In the electric kart. And Dad was faster there.

Jean Alesi: I can't even remember that. Because we've never compared each other. I didn't want my son to be in the kart too early either.

Why?

Jean Alesi: I didn't want him to grow up on the kart track. It's not just the races weekend after weekend. It is also tested during the week. Then when he should actually go to school. I didn't want to steal his childhood.

You also started very late yourself.

Jean Alesi: Yes, although that was a little different in my time. Without a driver's licenseyou couldn't even take part in races. I was 18 when I started in the Renault 5 Cup. And 16 when I started karting. Before the age of 18, no one seriously thought about Formula 1 at the time. Not like today.

Do you regret that you kept him off the kart tracks of this world for a long time?

Jean Alesi: Sometimes yes. He doesn't have the same experience as other 16 year olds today. Don't forget: he only drove karting for two years. And the GP3 is only its second year in motor racing.

Did you already have an argument about that?

Giuliano Alesi: No, we really have an excellent relationship. And if it happens, it's my fault. If he gives me a tip that I may not recognize at first, then I ask myself twice, why is he saying that? He just wants to help me.

Jean Alesi: I still remember how my father supported me. He never pushed me either, just tried to help me. That's how I want to do it with Giuliano.

Is Formula 1 your ultimate goal?

Jean Alesi: I support him very much on this point. The point is not to work out a plan for what the next four years will look like. In racing you can never be sure. It's more about having a goal in mind. And I keep reminding him of that.

Would he be a member of the Ferrari Academy without your help?

Jean Alesi: (Thoughts for a long time.) Maybe yes, maybe no.

But your legendary status in Italy certainly helped?

Jean Alesi: Let's put it this way: It didn't do any harm.

You have two other siblings. Are they on your Papa's footsteps too?

Giuliano Alesi: No, Helena is 19. She dreams of a career in the film business. John is nine and still believes in Superman. He is very different from me. He knows you can hurt yourself. Whereas I crashed 100 times in the yard.

What role does the mother actually play?

Giuliano Alesi: She's in the background. A very important person - for all of us.

Jean Alesi: Yes, she is very important for Giuliano. A great support for him. Especially off the racetrack.

But it sure isn't easy for you. First her husband, now the son. When you stopped, she was certainly relieved.

Jean Alesi: A quote from Mama Rosberg comes to mind. She once said: 'I can replace the husband. Not the son. ‘

Do you have plans for a race together? I'm thinking of Le Mans, for example.

GiulianoAlesi: At the moment we have other plans. But sounds good - why not?

Jean Alesi: (grins) That would be a nice story. Just like the Andrettis.

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