Jordan 'sacked HHF for Honda'

Eddie Jordan has finally broken his silence over the sacking of Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 2001 - claiming that he had to drop the German from his team in order to secure a continued supply of Honda engines

Jordan 'sacked HHF for Honda'

Frentzen's sudden dismissal from Jordan on the eve of the 2001 German Grand Prix came as a major surprise to all in Formula 1, not least Heinz-Harald himself, who only found out when he received a fax announcing the decision. Jordan has remained reticent about the matter ever since, but told Irish newspaper The Sunday Independent that he was forced into dropping Frentzen because Honda wanted Japanese driver Takuma Sato in the team for 2002.

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

Back in 2001 Honda had works engine deals with both BAR and Jordan, but the Japanese manufacturer was known to be considering focusing its efforts on one team. It ultimately parted company with Jordan in 2003 and now owns a majority stake in BAR, the team Sato now drives for. At the time of Frentzen's sacking, Sato was dominating the British Formula 3 Championship and was being strongly linked with a Jordan drive.

Frentzen had won two races with Jordan in 1999 and briefly challenged for the title, but in mid-2001 he was being outperformed by team-mate Jarno Trulli and his form had dipped after a large accident in Monaco. After being dropped by Jordan, Frentzen revived his career with some strong performances for the Prost team in the remaining races, while Jordan replaced him with Ricardo Zonta and Jean Alesi prior to Sato's arrival at the start of 2002.

"I loved Frentzen," continued Jordan. "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."

Jordan recently sold his team to Alex Shnaider's Midland consortium, and although he retains a role in the organisation he is not expecting to attend the opening races of the 2005 season.

shares
comments
Schumacher expects tough year

Previous article

Schumacher expects tough year

Next article

Briatore Defends Raikkonen as 'Breath of Fresh Air'

Briatore Defends Raikkonen as 'Breath of Fresh Air'
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021