Stoddart: Jordan sale bad news

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has admitted that the sale of Jordan to Russian billionaire Alex Shnaider may make it harder for his cash-strapped team to make a contest of it at the bottom of the Formula 1 pecking order in the future

Stoddart: Jordan sale bad news

Whereas in recent years Minardi has occasionally been able to embarrass better-funded rivals, and give Jordan a run for its money, Stoddart fears that the latter's acquisition by the Midland Group will be accompanied by a major cash injection that will leave Minardi trailing in its wake.

The Australian told Reuters: "If the effect of the new ownership is to inject enormous amounts of cash into Jordan, it makes my job tougher this year because quietly, without saying anything, I had felt quite optimistic that I could be racing Jordan in the second half of this year. If the money is spent in the right direction, and I'm sure they [Midland] have got good people who will tell them to do that, perhaps I may be rather lonely with a very minute budget compared to the nearest rival."

Minardi operates on an annual budget of £21 million - barely one-tenth of the amount spent by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota. Even Jordan's outlay is close to £50 million, and Stoddart is proud of what Minardi achieves on a relative shoestring.

"If there were a championship for best value per dollar spent, we'd win a string of them," he said. "But there isn't so we've got to get real, we've got to lift our game. That's all that's left for us to do - we've got to find more sponsorship or more money from Bernie [Ecclestone]."

Stoddart added that he will miss his comrade-in-arms Eddie Jordan, even if the two straight-talking wheeler-dealers haven't always seen eye to eye. Stoddart nicknamed his rival "Judas Jordan", or JJ for short, after he felt let down by the Irishman at a showdown with F1's wealthier teams at the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix.

"You all know that I jokingly call EJ 'JJ' and everything but actually I love him to death and I think he's going to be sadly missed," said Stoddart. "He's a hell of a character but yes, I am a little bit lonely. But I am sure that we have not seen the last of Eddie Jordan in the pit lane, I promise you that."

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