Friday August 3rd, 2001
By Will Gray
Jean Alesi's manager Mario Miyakawa has confirmed that the French driver is in talks with the Jordan team as he bids to leave Prost before the end of the season.
Alesi was linked with Jordan after Heinz-Harald Frentzen was sacked before the German Grand Prix. Alesi's manager refused to confirm that any deal was completed but indicated the negotiation process had started.
"We are still in the process of discussions with Alain (Prost) and Jordan because I can confirm that Jean wants to leave the team and we want to find a friendly solution," said Miyakawa.
"As of today nothing is confirmed and we are in a very delicate situation which will develop in the next few days and should be solved by the weekend."
Q: Did Alesi actually resign from Prost?
Miyakawa: "Not yet. We have talked to Alain and told him our position but we are waiting for our final answer. There are several problems but we cannot discuss them."
Miyakawa refused to confirm or deny The Daily Grapevine's report about a seat fitting for Alesi at the Jordan factory on Thursday due to the delicate situation in talks. However, he insisted the talks are going well and said that Alesi's main aim was to sort out the problems with Prost before leaving for Jordan.
"If we find a friendly solution then yes we will go to Jordan," he said. "There are several possibilities but our intention is to clear the situation with Prost first."
Prost, however, are determined to hold on to the services of Alesi, 37, and said the experienced driver had not yet made a move. "I will not say there is not a problem, but Jean has not signed with Jordan or with anyone else," said Prost spokeswoman Virginie Papin.
"He is under contract and we don't want him to leave. Alain is ready to defend his rights on Jean. Alain and Jean are trying to sort it out and Jean is wanting to leave but we don't know what Alain is ready to do. Who knows what he will do if he can't stop him."
Alesi is the most experienced man on the Grand Prix grid, with 196 races to his credit. He joined the Prost team in 2000, hoping the link-up with friend and team-owner Alain Prost would blossom into a French super team. But with three points finishes in the 12 races this season, it appears enough is enough.
Published at 14:35:46 GMT