Jordan will fight to keep 2000 line-up

Despite growing rumours surrounding the future of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the Jordan F1 team have staked their claim on the German's services for next year

Jordan will fight to keep 2000 line-up

Jordan appear adamant that they wish to retain their current driver line-up of Frentzen and Italian Jarno Trulli for 2001. Frentzen has been linked to a big money deal with Jaguar - in excess of the £6 million Eddie Irvine is currently paid - as a replacement for Johnny Herbert. Signing Frentzen would help promote the Jaguar brand in Germany, a prime luxury car market.

Trulli, meanwhile, remains under contract to Benetton, who have an option on the Italian, but not until August 2001. With Renault's recent buy-out of Benetton and the return of Italian Flavio Briatore as team boss, Trulli could be brought back into the fold in the longer term.

Despite Jaguar's generous offer, it is believed that Frentzen wants to stay at Jordan, not only because of his success with the Silverstone-based outfit, but also because a working relationship with Irvine could be less than tranquil. The pair clashed in Monaco, when Irvine slowed Frentzen on his final flying lap in qualifying. Jordan commercial director Ian Phillips said: "Heinz has indicated that he has no real intention of looking elsewhere."

No comment was offered on the possibility of Williams F1 driver Jenson Button replacing Frentzen at Jordan, should he move to Jaguar, despite the clear favour the young Brit would hold with title sponsor Benson and Hedges. Jordan are also known to be wary of taking drivers who are under contract to other teams. Button has a five year deal with Williams, who could potentially gain from having the young Brit further cut his teeth in another team, before bringing him back a more complete driver.

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