Thursday March 8th, 2001
France's Jean Alesi says he finally has the car to show he can still be successful and back in the points as the oldest driver in Formula One.
"The problem with our job is that people forget all too easily what you have done in the past and that makes me sad on one side and more explosive on the other," the Prost driver told Britain's Autosport magazine.
"I really believe in the way I drive and when I hear I am maybe too old or not motivated, that is hard for me.
"Last year I wasn't able to express myself to prove this but now I am able," the 36-year-old added.
Alesi, despite just one Grand Prix victory to his credit while with Ferrari in 1995, has long had a reputation in Formula One as a crowd pleaser whose skills really shine in wet conditions.
But he had a dismal 2000 as Prost ended a troubled season last overall without a single point, for the first time in his career.
This year they have Ferrari engines, replacing the troublesome Peugeot units, and Alesi finished the season-opening Australian Grand Prix last weekend in ninth place.
Alesi's lowest ebb last year followed a high-speed accident at Hockenheim when his car spun fiercely after being hit by the Sauber of Brazilian Pedro Diniz - ironically now involved with Prost as a part owner of the team.
Alesi was physically sick after the crash, one of the biggest accidents in his 10-year career, and said he could not sleep for a week because of the pain and also because he kept asking himself why he was taking so many risks
and getting nowhere.
"The good thing is that last season has finished," he said.