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Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi will stand trial for blowing up his brother-in-law’s office window with a firework – which he claims was all a joke.
Antoine Wolff, the deputy prosecutor for Nimes, has charged Alesi with causing an explosion that damaged property.
Alesi admitted to police that he had placed a large firework in the window in Villeneuve-les-Avignon on Sunday night.
The explosion cracked the armoured glass and damaged the window frame at the architect’s office.
The former Formula One star claimed to the Gendarmerie that it was a "bad joke".
But police have charged Alesi "in the context of a family conflict".
"Jean Alesi was taken into custody on Monday at around 4pm for damaging the property of others by means of an explosive device," he said.
"I am quite skeptical about the notion of a ‘joke’ carried out at 10pm without the person targeted knowing who is responsible."
Neighbours had reported the license plate of a BMW seen at the scene, which was tracked to Alesi's brother, Jose.
However, Alesi handed himself in and admitted that it was him and son Giuliano, who is also a racing driver, who been in the vehicle with a friend.
The Frenchman's alleged offence carries a maximum ten-year prison sentence.
Alesi has one Grand Prix victory to his name, the 1995 Canadian GP when he was racing for Ferrari.
The Frenchman finished ahead of the Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and the Brit Eddie Irvine, who were both racing for Jordan-Peugeot.
After Alesi had crossed the line, fans broke through the fences and charged the pit area – causing officials to wave the black flag.
Meanwhile, Alesi was entering his victory lap, but with his car running out of fuel he removed the steering wheel hoped out the car, stood on its front wing, and 'surfed' it to a halt.
- Formula One
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