IndyCar »

Doubts over Alesi's Indy 500 bid

Reports over the weekend suggesting that Jean Alesi's will not be starting in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 race next month have been refuted by IndyCar's CEO.
Former Ferrari F1 driver Jean Alesi is still in with a chance of competing in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 race in May, IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard insisted this weekend.

Bernard was responding to press reports that Alesi was out of the running for an IndyCar seat for next month's prestigious event, despite the former Ferrari F1 driver announcing last September that he intended to compete in the world famous event in a Lotus-powered car.

"I'm thrilled that Lotus has given me the opportunity to compete in such a world famous race," the 47-year-old French-Sicilian racer said at the time.

The original PR impact of Alesi running in the Indy 500 had in any case been somewhat blunted in the meantime by another F1 graduate Rubens Barrichello joining the series full-time, and there had been little follow-up on the story since the original announcement. Lotus' much-publicised race against time to get sufficient engines to its teams in time for the start of the 2012 IndyCar season last week at St Petersburg has led many to assume that Alesi's bid to make it onto the Indy 500 grid was low on the list of Lotus' priorities.

This weekend, the Indianapolis Star revealed that Alesi had been due to race with HVM Racing, the team that currently fields Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro for a full season campaign in the series. The newspaper went on to quote HVM owner Keith Wiggins as saying that the Alesi deal had fallen through.

"There's not enough money to do it," Wiggins was reported as saying.

With Lotus still struggling to produce enough power plants for its regular teams - especially after having three units fail this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park alone in the run-up to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - the question remains whether the engine manufacturer can actually add a sixth car to its roster for the one-off Indy 500 event.

Bernard insisted on Sunday that they can and will, and that Alesi is still a possible contender: "I know that he's been training. He wants to do it," he told a pre-race media gathering at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

He also said that he expected the other two engine suppliers, Honda and Chevrolet, to be able to step up to support 14 cars for the May event on top of Lotus' half dozen, which would make a total of 34 cars potentially competing to be on the 33-car grid.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan (Honda) has already said that they will running a car for GP2 runner-up Luca Fillipi, while Sebastian Saavedra has already been guaranteed a berth with Andretti Autosport (Chevrolet) as part of his development and Firestone Indy Lights deal with the team, which would make 28 entries at Indianapolis.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The start of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: Larry Seidman for IndyCar Media]
The 33 starters line up ready for the green flat to begin the centennial Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
A typical American way of closing proceedings. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon celebrates at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA]
Friday, Jean Alesi (FRA)
A special message for James Hinchcliffe during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with team owner Roger Penske after winning the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Accident for Sage Karam on the first lap of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia accident during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya is congratulated by his Penske team mate Helio Castroneves after clinching victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.