Jordan Reveals He Sacrificed Frentzen for Engines

Eddie Jordan has cast light on his controversial sacking of German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 2001, saying that he did it to save his Formula One team's Honda engine supply.

Jordan Reveals He Sacrificed Frentzen for Engines

Eddie Jordan has cast light on his controversial sacking of German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 2001, saying that he did it to save his Formula One team's Honda engine supply.

"People didn't understand the Frentzen situation," the Irishman, who sold his team to Russian-born Canadian businessman Alex Shnaider last month, told Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper.

"At the time I couldn't let him renew the contract because my only way of holding onto the Honda engine was by giving (Japan's Takuma) Sato the drive.

"I loved Frentzen. He won more Grands Prix for Jordan than anyone else. But I had to protect the engine situation, that was absolutely crucial.

"I took it on the chin. Nobody except myself and one or two in Jordan realised why I had to do what I did. I was in a position I hated. I wanted to keep Frentzen but I couldn't."

Frentzen won two races for Jordan in 1999, helping the team to third place overall in the constructors' championship -- their best ever performance.

He was fired abruptly by fax on the eve of his home German Grand Prix in July 2001 and replaced by Frenchman Jean Alesi as a stop-gap in a move that stunned many in the sport. No reason was given at the time.

Sato was signed later that year and had a crash-strewn first season with Jordan before finishing fifth in the final Japanese Grand Prix.

He joined BAR, now 45 percent owned by Honda, in 2003. Honda severed their contract with Jordan at the end of 2002.

Jordan, whose team struggled to survive last year, said he was not despondent about his departure from the sport after being one of the leading characters for 14 years.

"The worst thing would be to stay around and be completely sad about it," he said. "People say, 'oh, you'll be in Australia'. I won't. It's too far away and this team has to stand on its own two feet.

"They need time to get themselves together and they don't need the confusion of me being there and being seen to interfere."

Jordan, to be renamed Midland in 2006, will be launching their new car in Moscow's Red Square on Friday. The season starts in Melbourne on March 6.

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