Alesi explains background behind his bizarre arrest

Henry Valantine
Jean Alesi on TV punditry duties. Mexico October 2021.

Jean Alesi speaks while appearing as a pundit on French TV. Mexico October 2021.

After being arrested for setting off a firecracker, Jean Alesi said he then had a “fantastic evening” talking about Formula 1 in police custody.

The former Ferrari driver, his son Giuliano and a friend were all arrested after a firecracker exploded at the office of his brother-in-law’s architectural firm.

The brother-in-law is currently in the process of separating from Alesi’s sister, and the Frenchman described it as a “bad joke” that went wrong.

He will face a date in court in January 2023 for the incident and was keen to play down the incident when talking about it.

“It was just a joke. I never imagined a firecracker could cause all this,” Alesi told Corriere della Sera. “It all seems disproportionate to me. I had bought this firecracker in Italy at a service station near Ventimiglia, we were in the car with friends and we said ‘let’s try it’.

Jean Alesi
Jean Alesi suggests new rules for track limits.

“So I threw it in front of this architect’s office, but I didn’t expect it to make such a bang. I wasn’t angry with my sister’s ex-partner, we’ve always been on very good terms.

“I was the one who went to the police the next day to clarify things. I immediately said I would pay it all back. Throwing it at that very spot was an accident.”

Alesi was kept in prison overnight after his arrest before being released, and said the officers were confused as to why he was there in the first place.

However, seeing as they were Formula 1 fans, Alesi said he enjoyed his time discussing the sport during his night behind bars – and went on to say he will stay well away from pyrotechnics when celebrating the beginning of 2022.

“They kept me in the police station for 24 hours,” he said. “First I was locked in a room by order of the magistrate, then the policemen freed me – they did not understand why there was so much fury towards me. And in the police station we had a fantastic evening before being released.


“We talked to the guards about Formula 1, they were passionate about it. We talked about old races, old anecdotes, the silly things we did when we were young and then we talked about this incredible World Championship won by Max Verstappen.

“Now I will spend New Year’s Eve on the Cote d’Azur but without setting off any firecrackers – don’t mention them to me anymore. I’m done with firecrackers!”