Former F1 pilot Jean Alesi has firmed up his relationship with increasingly involved motorsport sponsor Direxiv by officially joining the company as senior executive director.

Alesi, who has more than 20 years experience competing at the top level of motorsport and racked up more than 200 grands prix before switching to the DTM with Mercedes, has turned his attention to driver management over the past few years, including looking after the affairs of Direxiv-backed Olivier Pla. His new role will see the French-Sicilian supporting Direxiv president and CEO Misato Haga in the development of the company's motorsport programme, which has grown to include several GP2 drivers as well as both McLaren and Alex Wurz in F1.

"Jean has been a friend of Direxiv for some time now, and we are very happy to make the relationship official," Haga said, "Our motorsport programme has grown significantly this year to include participation in five leading race series, including F1, and Jean's extensive experience will be invaluable to our progress."

Alesi, who joined McLaren for a series of F1 tests after his race career had ended, had been linked to the role of overseeing any proposed 'B' team running equipment previously raced by the Woking concern, and his new role with Direxiv will go some way to perpetuating the rumour that such a project remains under consideration. For now, though, his focus will be on developing the company's relationship with its existing partners.

"When Direxiv first got involved in motorsport, I followed their progress with great interest," he said of the Monaco-based, Japanese-owned company, "They are a young and dynamic company with big ambitions, and I am delighted that we can work together to realise their motorsport objectives. It is exciting for me to work on the management side after so many years in the driving seat."

Direxiv logos will appear on the leading edge of the MP4-21's sidepods this year, as well as on the helmet of former McLaren - now Williams - test driver Wurz.

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