Retired Formula 1 star Jean Alesi says he is serious about launching a comeback at next year's Indy 500 with Lotus.
Alesi, now 47, currently is employed by Lotus as an "ambassador" for the auto manufacturer, but told AUTOSPORT he is eager to race at Indy with the company, which is scheduled to launch its own turbo engine in 2012.
"We are still looking at Indianapolis with Lotus – maybe soon they will make an announcement," Alesi said. "Lotus is a big name and I have a contract with them for three years. It would be fantastic to have this challenge."
Alesi has no oval racing experience, but said he was not inclined to enter any pre-Indy races in preparation for a 500 debut.
"No," he said when asked if he would race elsewhere before May. "If it happens, it is Indianapolis. Hopefully, we can do something."
Alesi, who made 201 grand prix starts, says he would not enter the famous race just to add it to his list of career achievements.
"I go to be competitive," he insisted. "Otherwise it is too much risk, too much effort. If it was just to have a go at Indianapolis, then I prefer to watch it on TV. It is going to be a big effort from everyone – from Lotus, from my family, from myself. I'm going to train very hard for it."
The French-Sicilian also explained why he decided to tackle the race at this stage of his career, adding that he was not concerned about being too old to race at this level.
"We could say this is a midlife crisis! But I have a passion for motorsport, and I have been very lucky," he said. "Sometimes, the relationships you have with people make things easier, and that is what I have now with Lotus.
"I never put a limit on my career. Paul Newman was 80 when he raced in the Daytona 24 Hours, and I thought, 'Oh great, I have some time!"