Briton Ralph Firman has been officially confirmed as Jordan's second driver for the 2003 season, winning the race for the final seat available in Formula 1. The Formula Nippon champion will race alongside Italian Giancarlo Fisichella for the Silverstone-based squad.
Firman has signed a three-year agreement with the team, and will test for the first time in Valencia next week, having had a seat-fitting with the team yesterday (Monday).
"I am thrilled to have this chance to race in Formula 1 especially as it is with Jordan, one of the few teams to have to won Grands Prix in recent years," said Firman. "It's also a team that has brought many notable names into Formula 1 and I can see that it's an extremely friendly and professional operation.
"Although this will be my first season, I have worked hard to build up my experience whilst racing in Japan, so although F1 will be something new I feel ready and quite comfortable with it. I am really looking forward to going to Melbourne next month."
Team boss Eddie Jordan said: "He may be a rookie in F1 terms but Ralph brings a lot of racing experience and a formidable track record along with his enthusiasm and commitment. I'm impressed with his very cool and disciplined approach and I have a lot of confidence that he and Fisichella will be an awesome partnership on the track. The new that Ralph has joined us, allied to other important developments, means that Jordan-Ford is a force to be reckoned with in 2003, and I can't wait for the season to start."
Firman, the 1993 winner of the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC driver award, won the British Formula 3 championship and the prestigious Macau Grand Prix in 1996. He moved to Japan for 1997, and spent the next six seasons in the Formula Nippon championship. His efforts were limited by driving the under-developed G-Force chassis for several seasons, but a switch to the PIAA Nakajima team and Reynard chassis for 2001 led to his championship last season.
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