Jordan talks to AUTOSPORT.com

Jordan GP has had mixed fortunes so far in 2000, scoring points in Brazil but suffering double retirements with engine problems in Australia and gearbox gremlins at Imola.

Jordan talks to AUTOSPORT.com

The battle for 'best of the rest' honours is tight, and it's not going to be easy for the team to hang on to its hard-earned third place in the constructors' title.

Adam Cooper spoke to Eddie Jordan on the eve of the team's home GP at Silverstone.

Q: What was your personal feeling when you went into the paddock at the first race and saw the Jordan garage third in line after Ferrari and McLaren?

"Of course it was nice, but the season was always going to be tough. Eddie Jordan has a problem looking backwards - I can only look forwards. In that context I was more interested in where we would qualify, how we would do in the race, and how we did do in the season. The position in the garages is a nice thing, but it's really cosmetic, it's a luxury. It's not something that's really important to me."

Q: But isn't it a sign of what you achieved last year?

"Absolutely, it's better to be in the third garage along rather than the 10th garage along, or whatever. That is quite a natural situation. But now we're in the middle of a very tough season, and everything rolls on. You accept the third position of last year, but it's not important any more."

Q: Melbourne brought good and bad news - you were very quick, but both cars retired. What was your feeling heading home after that race?

"Not as bad as some people might have thought. There was Frentzen leading the race, OK with the help of pit stops, but we were running first and third. I suppose in real terms if we were able to finish we would have had two cars on the podium. Who knows? But that didn't happen, and it made us work harder to make sure that the reliability was sorted out for Brazil. And Brazil was a very good move forward for us."

Q: How tough is that battle behind Ferrari and McLaren?

"It's looks a very daunting prospect, in fact. We've seen in qualifying that BMW and Jaguar have been able to pull something out - they've got qualifying engines. Good luck to them - that's our problem. In the races I think we're quite strong, but it's very difficult to pass now. So strategy is going to play an important role in where we're going on that basis, so we have to take full advantage of what is available to us."

Q: Is it frustrating that you struggled for all those years to get up to third, and it now looks like you might be unable to progress until you get a works engine partner?

"The engine we have this year is by our own choice, it's what we wanted. We wanted a re-development of last year's engine, which is what we have. There are a couple of big revisions on the way. It's very easy for people just to say 'If we had this or had that', but that is clearly not the case from our point of view. We are very happy with Honda, we are very happy with Mugen. We know from the past that they have always given us an engine that is capable of winning. Jordan has a problem in many respects, and that is that we start off a little bit slowly, and then gain momentum and get a bit quicker as we develop the car. I hope that can still be the case this year, but we have to address it in years to come. We need to be much quicker straight away."

Q: There's another team in the pitlane with works Honda support - have you cast any envious glances in that direction?

"You can easily get sucked into situations whereby you might wish something. We know what we have, and we're very happy with it. We're going to keep our heads down, do a good job in the races, and we would hope to finish in the top three of the championship again as we did last year - hopefully with more points."

Q: You got a couple of wins last year in strange circumstances. Is the key thing this year to be in the right place at the right time again when something happens like a wet race, or the top cars retire?

"I think it's a little bit unfair to think that we lucked into the wins, because at the Monza race we were on the front row of the grid, and I believe we forced Mika Hakkinen into that mistake, and that was all part of the game plan. There's no question about it that we won fair and square. And the team and the driver won in France through strategy. It's always nice to know that it's not just the driver, It means the team has to be alert, be aware, be conscious of the others and changing circumstances to hopefully give you the best result that is attainable."

Q: To put it another way then, are you taking a good look at certain races like Monza or Hockenheim, where you think the car might be well suited?

"We've hopefully moved on from there. We like to think that the car can be quick everywhere. Imola was a disappointment, certainly in the qualifying, but it's quite obvious to see that there are teams around us that use certain tactics - which are perfectly legitimate - to qualify better. We have to address that situation."

Q: Last year you had one driver who scored a lot of points, and one who didn't. This year you seem to have two very strong drivers competing against each other. Are you happy with that situation?

"Sure, it's always nice to have two people who can push each other along. And there's no doubt that while Jarno hasn't outqualified Heinz as yet, I'm sure that will happen, and happen quite soon. It's also nice to have two drivers pushing different views. They run the cars very differently. They are very professional drivers and very committed to what they're trying to do. It's a joy to work with all professional people, particularly when they want so much to achieve what they need to achieve."

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