Giuliano Alesi: I have been in love with motor racing since I was very young
Trident driver speaks about his love affair with motor racing
Giuliano Alesi is the boy who was born with a toy car in his hand. The 19-year-old is after all an Alesi - motor racing is in his blood. His father Jean Alesi was described as a mercurial and passionate racer, who drove in Formula One for the likes of Tyrell, Benetton, Sauber, Prost, Jordan and Ferrari. Growing up, little Alesi was either going to love the sport, or hate it. It was of course the former: it was in his veins and he couldn’t get enough.
Growing up in the spotlight of his own last name, Giuliano Alesi says that his father was wary of the risks of exposing him to the sport so young. Indeed, he wouldn’t get to wrap his hands around the steering wheel of a racing kart until he was 13-years-old, when his father felt he was ready to make the decision.
“As a kid, I always knew who my father was,” Giuliano Alesi said to the FIA F2 official website. “I have been in love with motor racing since I was very young, even when I didn’t know what it was, aged one or two years old, I always had a small car in my hand, there is not a picture of me without a small car in my hand.
“I wanted to start racing when I was about 6 or 7 years old and I asked my Dad if I could, telling him that I wanted to begin, but he was always against me starting very early. We finally made a decision together to start when I was 13 years old at the end of 2012. I was conscious of all the things I would have to do - the sacrifices that I would have to make and all of the training. I would not have the same life as other kids. My father told me that this is how it would be if I chose that life and that’s when I chose it.”
For Giuliano, he was never going to make any other decision. For all of the sacrifices he would have to make and for the normal childhood he was giving up, he was swapping it for a path less driven, a path that isn’t available to most - a path that is extremely special and in his own words, “unique,” extraordinarily unique.
There is no sense of regret in his words, no thought for how his childhood could have played out had he not stepped into that first kart. And, why would there be? He was hooked, absorbed by the immense thrill that is motor racing
“Driving the fastest cars that are out there on track is what is really unique. Everything that comes with it: the entourage, the world and the environment, they are so nice and I really enjoy every moment of it.
“It is very difficult to predict what is going to happen [in a race]. It’s very unpredictable, you don’t know anything basically - there is this big suspense and that is what makes motor racing very special and unique.”
He swiftly established himself in the racing world and by 2015 he was already competing in the French F4 Championship. Within a year, Trident would give the gifted young racer a spot in GP3.
His development was quite impressive and attracted the attention of Ferrari who recruited him to join the FDA (Ferrari Driver Academy), alongside Charles Leclerc – who now races for the Scuderia in F1.
The Trident driver says that this is amongst his greatest achievements to date, continuing: “Being able to join the Ferrari Driver Academy and being able to wear the Prancing Horse shield has definitely been one of my highlights. It is so special and it’s so unique, you don’t get to experience that anywhere else. It was definitely a huge accomplishment for me and very satisfying on my part.
“In terms of a particular race [highlight], I would say my first victory at Silverstone two years ago in GP3. I didn’t know what to expect of myself - no one knew what to expect, and then it just happened. That definitely was a big surprise for myself, but it felt so good to get a win and it took time to sink in.”
At this point, the conversation returns to his father. Jean Alesi famously drove for Ferrari between 1991 and 1995, and Giuliano now aligns himself with the same team, as part of their Driver Academy. The young Frenchman has enjoyed plenty of early successes in his career and it is Jean Alesi who continues to play the part of his biggest influence.
“I have always looked up to my father,” the 19-year-old emphasised. “Not just because he is my father, but because I know where he came from, I know the road he travelled and it is very inspiring for me to see him, live with him and call him my father. He is definitely one of my biggest influences.”
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