Interview: a Sad Day for Eddie Jordan

Eddie Jordan, the Irish entrepreneur who brought rock 'n' roll to Formula One, has not ruled out a comeback even as the team he founded prepares to leave the stage

Interview: a Sad Day for Eddie Jordan

The Dubliner, who led his team to the heights and down again, will not be in Shanghai on Sunday to watch their final Grand Prix appearance after 15 years, 250 races and four memorable wins.

Jordan will be walking the Great Wall of China for charity instead.

"It's a sad day, a very sad day," he told Reuters by telephone from Beijing. "It's not just Jordan but also the people at Minardi and perhaps Sauber and BAR.

"Formula One has become extremely corporate...but I'm one of the fortunate ones, the only one of the four to have won Grands Prix.

"That gives me great satisfaction but it does not make me feel good if all of my colleagues and my friends find it impossible to be competitive."

The Jordan, Minardi, Sauber and BAR names will all be disappearing after Sunday, to be renamed by their new owners Midland, Squadra Toro Rosso (Red Bull), BMW and Honda respectively.

Jordan, who sold his team to Russian-born Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider in January, said he was not bitter about the past or present state of Formula One.

However the power of the manufacturers, and their squeezing out of the smaller 'independent' teams whose only business was motor sport, troubled him.

"I don't want to sound bitter but I feel extremely disappointed for the fans," he said. "Even though the racing is great this year, it needs private teams.

"I would love to come back, I hope that (F1 commercial supremo) Bernie (Ecclestone) can in the future put together a Formula One Championship...that is much more equitable and where a team like Jordan can compete.

"I'd come back then in those circumstances. But you couldn't risk your own and other people's money in a situation which (now) is so loaded against you."

Lock-Up Garage

From the moment Jordan launched his team in a lock-up garage at a snowy Silverstone circuit in December 1990, with one unimpressed pundit wondering why he bothered, the team battled against the odds.

Yet they overcame severe financial difficulties to flourish, claiming a memorable one-two finish with Briton Damon Hill and German Ralf Schumacher in Belgium in 1998.

Michael Schumacher made his debut with the team in 1991, before being snapped up by Benetton, as did his current Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in 1993.

In 1999, with German Heinz-Harald Frentzen, they finished third in the Constructors' Championship.

Of those who set out with Jordan all those years ago, seven people remain at the team today, one of them the director of business affairs Ian Phillips.

"It's sad because it's been a good 15 years and I think we've given something to the sport," he said.

"We were in an era where the privateers could do a good job, come in and have some influence if they were professional about it.

"Now the era of the privateer has gone, I believe temporarily. It's mighty difficult to compete right now as an individual, you just can't do it. Entrepreneurship alone won't get you through," said Phillips.

"The chapter is closed, all good things must come to an end at some stage...in the first seven to 10 years that we were in business, 16 teams came and went.

"I've always said that our biggest victory was actually survival. We've been around the globe 15 times and that's good enough for anybody.

"I think we can be proud of what we've achieved, it's the right time to close the book."

shares
comments
Brawn Angry at Tyre Rule Change Claims
Previous article

Brawn Angry at Tyre Rule Change Claims

Next article

Official F1 Theme Park to Open in Dubai

Official F1 Theme Park to Open in Dubai
Load comments
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021