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Newman/Haas set to run Jean Alesi in Indy 500

But Haas' team has been staying in touch with IndyCar by offering behind-the-scenes support to the Lotus Dragon Racing team, which this year is fielding Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge in Lotus-powered cars. Bourdais won four consecutive Champ Car championships from 2004 to 2007 with Newman/Haas.

It's unclear where the money for Newman/Haas Racing's deal with Alesi has been found. There is currently no official announcement or confirmation of the reports of Alesi's signing from Newman/Haas Racing itself, and the team's General Manager Brian Lisles was unavailable for comment. Alesi is quoted by Autosport.com as saying that there were still "a lot of details to decide."

If the deal does finally come together, then Alesi will be required to go through the same Rookie Orientation Program that fellow F1 star Rubens Barrichello will also undertake in the week before the official start of track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The former F1 driver - who competed in just over 200 Grand Prix races in his career - is a Lotus cars brand ambassador. Alesi's own official website continues to show the countdown to the Indy 500 with the message "I look forward to seeing you May 27, 2012 in Indianapolis" that first appeared back in September last year when he made his original announcement of seeking a spot on the Indy 500 grid.




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