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Ex-F1 driver Alesi faces court date for ‘bad joke’ explosion

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi faces a 2023 court appearance after blowing up his brother-in-law’s window with a firecracker in what the former driver called a “bad joke”, AFP learned from the prosecutor’s office on Tuesday.

Alesi, 57, will be tried at the Nimes magistrate’s court “for damaging the property of others by a means dangerous to people, committed in the context of a family conflict”, the local public prosecutor Eric Maurel told AFP.

Maurel added that Alesi’s son will also be prosecuted for complicity in the incident. 

The two were allowed to leave Avignon police station where they had been held in custody since Monday afternoon.

The incident occurred in Villeneuve-les-Avignon where the 57-year-old former Ferrari driver resides. 

The police had been called Sunday around 10pm local time by neighbours, concerned about the sound of an explosion.

A vehicle which was spotted by a neighbour at the site leaving with its lights off was traced to Alesi’s brother Jose who was arrested. 

Jean Alesi went to the police station on Monday to clear his brother, explaining that he had been the one in the car with his son and a friend. 

Alesi said he had stuck a “large firework bought in Italy” into the frame of a window of his brother-in-law’s architect’s office “without imagining causing such damage”, said the deputy prosecutor Antoine Wolff. 

Alesi, who scored one victory in his 13-year career in F1, explained that he only wanted to play a “bad joke” on his brother-in-law, who is currently separated from Alesi’s sister.

The brother-in-law, who says he has “no problem” with Alesi, nonetheless filed a complaint for the damage to the windowframe, said Wolff. 

“I am quite sceptical about the notion of a ‘joke’ carried out at 10pm without the person concerned knowing who it is,” added Wolff.

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