Saturday was Bump Day Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In a hot weather (87°) under partly cloudy skies, the Lotus car went out to qualify and put in all the laps. Jean Alesi (#64 Lotus Fan Force United F.P.Journe) recorded a time 210.094 mph and confirmed to be on the “Grid” next Sunday May 27.
Jean Alesi is thus confirmed on the Grid for the next Indy 500. Unfortunately not on pole position due to mechanical problems with the Lotus engine but Indy 500 is an amazing race full of surprises.
Claudio Berro, Lotus Director of Motorsports, admitted: “We need to be realistic. We know we are way behind on the development of the engine, for reasons that everyone knows. Our objective now is to do better development on the engine in the future, to give the teams a better chance to do well in the upcoming races.”
“Now I can breathe” said Jean Alesi, after completing today’s qualifying. Even though his Lotus F.P.Journe car wasn’t up to speed, he was happy. “I am so fortunate to be here, for my fans, for everyone here who supported me all week. Indianapolis is such a big experience. We have no idea how difficult this really is, until we do it. I am 47 years old, and I have learned more in one week here than I did in my entire Formula One career. It is a big relief for me to finally get into this race. I have wanted to do this race ever since I was young. When I decided to do the Indy 500, I talked with my father and my brother. I am close with my family, and we agreed that I could do it. I watched many Indy races on TV, I knew who all drivers were. I trained very hard for many months to prepare and I put a lot of effort to get ready for this. Of course, I am disappointed because I don’t have the car I thought I would have, but it was all we could get, and we took it. I keep it inside of me. It is frustrating to not have the same speed as the others. I am a professional; I have passion inside of me. I want to do the maximum that I can, with the car that I have. ”
On his Fan Force United team: This team has worked so hard, and everybody knows the limitations that have been placed on them by our equipment. We have made the most of our situation and I am so happy with everything that they have done for me; to set up a complete and professional team in no time. I can tell you that next Sunday night, when it is all over and it is time to leave, that I am going to be very sad, because these guys have become like family to me very quickly. I have not always been able to experience that in my career, and it has been so extraordinary.