Alesi Involved with New F1 Team

Former Grand Prix driver Jean Alesi has confirmed for the first time that he is involved with plans by a Japanese investment company to have a Formula One team on the grid in 2007

Alesi Involved with New F1 Team

The Frenchman has previously kept quiet about being involved in the ambitions of the Direxiv company to form a team based around old McLaren chassis and Mercedes-Benz engines.

But after being present at both the Japanese and Chinese Grand Prix as guests of McLaren to continue the plans of the team, Alesi has finally come clean about the project.

"We'll tell (the name of the team) at the official launch, otherwise what kind of surprise will it be?" he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The person behind all this is a Japanese businessman who manages an investment fund. This year he sponsored GP2 team Direxiv and therefore he ran one of my proteges, Olivier Pla. I can't say anymore, not even under torture."

Speaking to ITV before the race, Alesi said he was looking forward to his involvement with the team. It is believed that he will become their sporting director.

"For the moment I cannot say more because nothing is decided yet, but I will be pleased to be back in F1," he added. "As a driver I am too old."

The Direxiv team will be based at McLaren's old Woking factory and are expected to begin testing next year prior to their debut in 2007. McLaren test driver Alex Wurz and McLaren protege Lewis Hamilton have been linked with seats at the team.

The outfit will need to move fast to make it onto the grid, however, because there are also believed to be two other teams hoping to take the final two places in the sport.

Honda are backing plans for a second team run by the Super Aguri Racing and Dome companies, while F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone revealed at the weekend that another outfit was also close to committing.

"They have been to see me and it is an interesting idea," he told The Times newspaper. "I have always said that the sport needs new blood and this team will surprise many people. They have serious money and serious intentions so we should help them if we can."

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