Senna and Alesi, in the midst of struggle for the victory in Phoenix. Photo: McLaren F1.
the ways of The lord are inscrutable. Surely, Jean Alesi would have arrived at the Formula 1 anyway: in the end, he was champion of the Formula 3000 in 1989. But the process was accelerated when, halfway through the year, Ken Tyrrell signed a sponsorship contract with a company tobacco rival which supported one of their drivers, Michele Alboreto. To replace the Italian, he chose the young frenchman, who could not have a better debut, when fourth in the Grand Prix of France, at Paul Ricard. A fifth place finish in Italy, and fourth in Spain led him to be classified ninth in the World.
The best was yet to come. The World Championship of 1990 was launched in the united States, in the ordinary circuit of Phoenix. Shortly before, Tyrrell had signed with Pirelli as a supplier of tires. The performance of the tires on a classification of the Italian firm revealed excellent: Gerhard Berger (McLaren-Honda) signed the pole position, but behind it all were surprises: the Minardi of Pierluigi Martini, the Dallara-Scuderia Italia of Andrea de Cesaris and the Tyrrell of Alesi.
With a output lightning, Alesi took the lead and began to open the gap with respect to Berger. The austrian lost his options when crashing into a wall on the back 9, being surpassed by Ayrton Senna, who after a fifth had already surpassed Martini and Cesaris. Though he returned to the track and set the fastest lap, Gerhard ended up leaving with problems of clutch.
slowly, Senna was reducing the disadvantage with Alesi until, on lap 34, he passed in turn 1. But Jean responded immediately and ahead of the brazilian in the curve 2. Ayrton repeated the manoeuvre on the next lap, but this time much care was given to protect the inside of the curve 2. Alesi did not give up and, with the best traction, was able to be placed almost in parallel to the brazilian for a couple of curves, but in the end had to give up and settle for a second place that I knew to victory.
Shortly after, with the Tyrrell 019 -the first single-seater morro alto-, Alesi repeated the result in Monaco, again behind Senna. There was No more scoring throughout the year, but had already got the attention of Ferrari and Williams. As is well known, Jean opted for the team the Italian, a bet that, with time, it was revealed wrong: in his five years at Maranello, Jean only won a victory, the only of his career, in the Grand Prix of Canada 1995.