Firman Signs Three-Year Deal with Jordan

Briton Ralph Firman will make his Grand Prix debut this year after it was announced today that he will drive for the Jordan Formula One team, having signed a three-year deal with them.

Firman Signs Three-Year Deal with Jordan

Briton Ralph Firman will make his Grand Prix debut this year after it was announced today that he will drive for the Jordan Formula One team, having signed a three-year deal with them.

After several months of speculation and several drivers linked to the remaining seat, the Silverstone-based outfit finally announced that Firman will be the man to partner Italian Giancarlo Fisichella in 2003.

Firman beat Brazilian Felipe Massa, who for some time was believed to be the favourite for the drive.

"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," said team principal Eddie Jordan. "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 news 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."

Jordan, who this year will use Ford engines and who are yet to announce a title sponsor, had made no secret about the fact that whoever occupied the second seat would have to bring sponsorship to the team.

Jordan did not comment on what backing was brought in by Firman, whose father and namesake founded the Van Diemen racing car business that builds the chassis used in various junior series including Formula Ford.

27-year old Firman was crowned Formula Nippon champion in 2002 and he already got behind the wheel of a Formula One car when he drove Honda-powered BAR in December at the Barcelona circuit. Firman won the British Formula Three Championship in 1996, before moving to Japan, where he has been racing since 1997.

"I am thrilled to have this chance to race in Formula One especially as it is with Jordan, one of the few teams to have won Grands Prix in recent years," said Firman. "It's also a team that has brought many notable names into Formula One 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."

Firman will first test the Jordan next week at Valencia.

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