THE MAURICE HAMILTON INTERVIEW A lunch time chat with the legends of F1, every month
“Gerhard Berger and I ‘borrowed’ Jean Todt’s car at Maranello but ended up rolling it. Todt went completely mad – he even phoned di Montezemolo!”
Jean Alesi’s 12-year career in F1 spanned the 1990s, and bore witness to a changing of the guard from Senna and Prost to Schumacher and Villeneuve. It also involved one great win, a few mechanical failures – and a frustrating moment with Martin Brundle
PORTRAITS GLENN DUNBAR/LAT
92 F1 Racing September 2011 Only Jean Alesi could have Pepe, an eccentric Italian who runs a pizzeria in Avignon, come to his 17th-century home and cook a three-course lunch, accompanied by wine from Jean’s own vineyard. And then, after a wonderful few hours spent reminiscing, have us go for supper at Napoli Mia, Pepe’s equally eccentric restaurant, complete with Lambretta scooters hanging from the wall. They’re both fitting venues to discuss a 12-year F1 career that ended in 2001, but included over 200 grand prix starts – and a priceless win in Canada in 1995… Maurice Hamilton: This is a beautiful home. You’ve come a long way since you first left your parents’ place here in Avignon and moved in with Eddie Jordan and his family in Oxford. Jean Alesi: I was not speaking English at all back then and my brother, José, came with me. I always mention my brother because he’s looked after me since I was a little boy; he means a lot to me. He stayed with me for two days and then he had to come back to France. The next night Eddie said we were going to have dinner with Rick Gorne, the guy who was working with Adrian Reynard. They had a lot to drink.