Interview: Shnaider Denies Jordan Sale

Russian-born billionaire Alex Shnaider has rejected speculation that he wants to sell the Jordan Formula One team he bought in January

Interview: Shnaider Denies Jordan Sale

Rumours have spread like wildfire at the Monaco Grand Prix but the naturalised Canadian was dismissive of them in an interview on Saturday.

"It's not true. I don't want to sell the team, absolutely not," he told Reuters on his luxury yacht Midlandia, named after the Midland company which has extensive interests throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

"I was asked theoretically whether it is possible that I would sell the team and I said that everything is for sale. We buy businesses, we sell businesses, we buy companies and we sell companies.

"At the end of the day we are an investment company so obviously things could be sold if the right amount is being offered. But nobody offered me anything. There is nothing going on so I don't know where this is coming from."

Former Grand Prix driver Eddie Irvine, apparently with a wealthy Russian investor in tow, has appeared at three races in a row and has been linked to a possible takeover of the Toyota-powered team.

Shnaider denied talks with the Northern Irishman and said that his own plan to rename the team Midland from 2006 was continuing as scheduled.

"Everything is still going on according to plan, the car is being developed, everything is going forward," he said.

Huge Mess

The team boss responded to rumours that the Silverstone-based squad, whose drivers are Indian Narain Karthikeyan and Portugal's Tiago Monteiro, were being pursued by suppliers for unpaid bills.

"We got the company (when it was) in a huge mess," he said. "There are all kinds of payables that we had no idea about. There were a lot of suppliers that were trying to take advantage when the management changed.

"Everybody at the end of the day is getting paid but obviously we don't want to pay every bill that is coming our way that we think is out of nowhere.

"We must investigate where it is coming from, why is it so high. It's only normal."

Shnaider's original plan was to enter Formula One with Midland next year but he bought Jordan to save the $48 million bond demanded of newcomers. He made clear that 2005 was merely a holding year.

"We bought the company at the end of January, we walked into the factory and there were four old monococques," he said. "There were no cars ready, no drivers and no sponsors.

"There was nothing. We have to quantify what assets we have, what liabilities we have.

"If we start doing things differently it's going to be for the name of Jordan this year - and the name Jordan is going to disappear in a matter of months. So why spend money for that?

"We want to keep the costs down for this year. It's very easy to be foolish and spend money," said Shnaider.

"For next year we are preparing and we are spending money," he said, adding that two wind tunnels for running for 18 hours a day and new motorhomes had been ordered for 2006.

"For this year I don't see anything that we would put money in that we would get a good return on our investment."

The team still plan to bring out a revised version of their existing car, which is in danger of being overtaken on the track by Minardi, for the French Grand Prix in July. An engine deal for 2006 is also imminent.

"We are very happy with the Toyota, we have the option of continuing with Toyota and also there are offers for other engine suppliers," said Shnaider. "I think we will announce very shortly who will be our supplier."

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