Jean Alesi's breakout year

Jean Alesi's breakout year

Sweeping to F3000 success, winning over an F1 team and making a spectacular grand prix debut. Jean Alesi looks back on a breakout 1989 season with CHARLES BRADLEY

Breakout years, the kind that define a top-level driver's career and can shake up an entire generation, come along only rarely. Last year Daniel Ricciardo had that kind of season. But a quarter of a century ago, with legendary talent spotters Eddie Jordan and Ken Tyrrell behind him, Jean Alesi became the hottest prospect on the grand prix grid.

But does it really feel like a quarter of a century ago to Alesi? "I can believe it was 25 years ago, because today my kid is racing and I am the one who is doing all the watching!" he laughs today. "But when you have a chance, you just have to take it. In 1989 I had the chance, in F3000 and then in F1, and I just said to myself, 'Go for it'."

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