Jean Alesi passed successfully the third phase of the Rookie Orientation Program today in his #64 FP Journe machine. He completed 40 laps today with a fast time of 211.516 and was quite happy when he stepped out of the car.
“We finished our program for being able to walk (laughs). I’m happy but I still expect more from the engine performance. We are still far away. The engineers are working on it. The top speeds we are reaching at the moment are still too low to be Lotus. So, they must tune the engine as much as they can to be competitive. With this crew and the Fan force United team, I’m sure we can make a good race. This team has done such a great job for me so far.”
Indy 500 fans have been asking why Jean Alesi has been sitting in the car when it is towed between the garage and the pit, when most of the drivers walk or ride in their carts. The reason for this is really quite simple, as explained by Lotus Fan Force United Team Manager Ted Bitting:
“We have to have somebody steering the car when it is being towed. Drivers don’t normally do that. In my experience, drivers don’t want to do that. Unfortunately, none of our crew is able to fit in Jean’s seat, so he ends up having to do it. Besides, he needs to break in his seat, so the more time he spends in it, the better. Jean is great to work with and does everything we ask him to do. He has a great attitude.”
Jean was a bit surprised by all of the fuss, saying “This is what the team has asked me to do, so this is what I am doing. At the same time, I am happy to spend as much time in my seat as possible, so that I can break it in.”
“I am enjoying my time here very much. I am enjoying being able to talk to the fans, to sign autographs and pictures of my race cars from a few years ago. Everything here is very much different from what I have experienced, and I like it a lot. Of course, I have heard about the Indy 500 from many of my friends who have raced here over the years, so being here and finally doing it myself is very exciting. I am finally understanding why they were always so excited. I want to put on a good show for the Indy fans, so I am staying 100% focused on my task, which is, of course, to make the car go as fast as possible. “