Alesi unhappy with 'crazy' pay-to-play status of F1


Former F1 driver Jean Alesi deplores the current state of Grand Prix racing, with access now only limited to sons of billionaires or to those young drivers handled by specific managers.

The 1995 Canadian GP winner was a proud father earlier this week when he witnessed his son Giuliano's F1 debut with Ferrari at Fiorano.

Alas, there's little chance the 21-year-old and now former Ferrari Driver Academy member will ever step up to the big time.

After two disappointing years in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Alesi will head east to Japan where he will continue his motorsport career this season in the Super Formula Lights series with TOM's and also in the Asian GT300 series with Toyota Team Thailand.

Alesi Sr is happy that his son has been handed an opportunity to race in Japan, but admits to being disillusioned with the roadblock in Europe faced by Giuliano and many young drivers like him, as he explained in an interview with Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"If you look at what's going on in our part of the world in Europe, nothing is a meritocracy," lamented Alesi who sold his personal Ferrari F40 to fund his son's F1 season in 2020.

"All you need to do is pay, pay and pay. I think it's crazy, it's the only sport in the world where you need to pay to play. I think it's a lot fairer in Japan."

Giuliano Alesi won't exactly be living in a foreign country as he holds a Japanese passport through his mother, Kumiko Goto. And he'll also be able to apply his skills free of charge!

"He'll be racing almost every weekend, something that is no longer possible in Europe, unless one pays a lot of money," Alesi said.

"Today, you need to be a billionaire to buy a Formula 1 team for your son, or you won't make it to F1. Many seats are blocked by drivers managed by [Frederic] Vasseur and [Toto] Wolff.

"Fortunately there is Ferrari, which supplies engines to some F1 teams so they can also supply drivers.

"Mick Schumacher got his seat in Formula 1 also with his Formula 2 title, but without the support of Maranello it would not have been possible."

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