Jordan Grand Prix Ltd
|Based in: Silverstone, Northamptonshire, UK|
Founded: 1983 (active 1991-2005)
Chairman: Eddie Jordan (1991-2004),
Managing director: Trevor Foster (2004), Colin Kolles (2005)
Team manager: Jim Vale
Technical director: Mike Gascoyne (1998-2000), Eghbal Hamidy (2001), Gary Anderson (1991-1998, 2002-2003), Mark Smith (2004), John McQuillian (2005)
Chief aerodynamics: Nicolo Petrucci (2005)
Eddie Jordan is a lot of things to a lot of people. Wheeler-dealer, loveable rogue, joker and professional Irishman are all terms used to describe this ex-bank clerk from Dublin. Regardless of what people say about Eddie it is certain that beneath that affable exterior lies a core of steel, because Jordan has achieved what few others have in his time in Formula 1. When he joined the circus in 1991 he did so without the support of a major manufacturer and yet he has managed to prosper to such a degree that the Jordan outfit is constantly suggested as the team most likely to break the monopoly of the 'big-four'.
Jordan followed up a successful career as a racing driver by becoming a manager of promising talent. After competing in Formula 3 from 1983 to 1987, during which time they clinched a title with Johnny Herbert, the team progressed swiftly through F3000. Again honours came Jordan's way with Jean Alesi taking the F3000 crown in 1989. It was his success in the lower formulae that prompted Eddie to take a shot at the big league. He entered F1 with a small team, a customer engine and a neat little chassis. The Jordan 191 performed well from the outset, due in the main to the efforts of team technical director, Gary Anderson, who has continued to produce capable cars every year since.
The first car was scheduled to be called the 911 but German car company Porsche objected to the use of a number they called their own. Jordan protested about the cost of changing all his promotional material and as a result he got a Porsche 911 for all his troubles! The teams first drivers were Bertrand Gachot and Andrea de Cesaris, but Gachot's tenure was short-lived when he was jailed for spraying CS gas at a London taxi-driver. The intervening seasons have not been hugely successful for Eddie and his boys but his ability to do the deal has meant that the equipment has never really been at fault. In fact when Jordan ran the Peugeot engines during 1995-1997 they were the most powerful unit on the grid. The problems have always been driver related as evidenced by 1997's crop. Fisichella ran as high as second on a number of occassions but usually threw it away with a misjudged manouvre such as seen at Hungary. As for Ralf Schumacher; he was almost as good as he thinks he is, and his tendency to self-destruct cost the team some vital points finishes.
1998 was a season of two halves for Jordan with the better half coming after Silverstone. Schumacher Junior was joined by former champion Damon Hill on what Eddie Irvine claimed was a 'cruise and collect' deal. Eddie seemed to be on the button up until Silverstone because in the first eight races of the season the team failed to score a single point and many were doubting that Hill would stick around for the rest of his contract. At this point, the team and long serving designer Gary Anderson parted company, to be replaced by Mike Gascoyne from Tyrrell.
Some hard work on the chassis coupled with improvements from Mugen-Honda and Goodyear saw the Jordan 198 finally delivering the goods. The highpoint of the season was a stunning 1-2 victory for Hill and Schumacher . Incredibly by the time Suzuka came around the team found themselves in a battle with Williams and Benetton for 4th in the constructors' championship.Damon Hill's hard race in Japan brought the needed points - Eddie was 4th in the championship for the first time.
Yet another former F3000 driver of Jordan's, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, joined his F1 program in 1999, replacing Williams-bound Ralf Schumacher. The season was a nightmare for Hill, who had begun to lose interest. Hill was to retire at the end of the 1999 season. However, Frentzen's season was immensely successful, with Heinz-Harald earning two victories and a pole position. Frentzen finished third in the Drivers' Championship and the team also finished third amongst the Constructors'. This made 1999 Jordan's most successful Formula One season.
For 2000 Hill was replaced by Jarno Trulli, who proved to be an improvement. Frentzen, however, was not as successful as he'd been the previous year, and the team slipped back to 6th in the Constructors' Championship.
Both drivers returned to start 2001 while Jordan switched to Mugen Honda engines which were already being supplied to rival team BAR. This would lead to a battle for the right to use the Honda engines in the long term. Frentzen was released from the team in mid-season (for unclear reasons) and was replaced by test driver Ricardo Zonta at the German Grand Prix. Zonta on his turn would be replaced by Jean Alesi, who was in the final stages of his Formula One career. Amidst all the turmoil, Trulli managed to score points every now and then, and the team, as it had done many times before, finished 5th in the constructors championship.
Jordan re-organized in 2002, with Fisichella returning and Takuma Sato joining the team, thanks in no small part to Honda's support of the team. Neither driver could do much with the car and the team was lucky to finish 6th in the Championship.
For 2003, Honda left Jordan to concentrate on their partnership with BAR. Jordan was left with Ford Cosworth engines but was able to win again. The win came under extraordinary circumstances in the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix which took place in torrential weather conditions. Following a massive accident on the start / finish straight, the race was red flagged and stopped. After some initial confusion, Giancarlo Fisichella was initially ruled to have finished a still remarkable second behind Kimi Räikkönen who took the top step on the podium. However, an FIA inquiry several days later led to Fisichella being officially declared the winner of his first F1 race. Fisichella was, therefore, unable to celebrate his first career victory on the top step of the podium, although he and Räikkönen swapped trophies in a presentation at the following Grand Prix. Aside from the lucky win, neither Fisichella or new teammate Ralph Firman were able to have any sort of success in their Jordans. After Firman was injured in practice for the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix Jordan fielded the first ever Hungarian Formula One driver, Zsolt Baumgartner.
In 2004, Jordan struggled financially, and their status for the future was questionable. The team fielded German Nick Heidfeld, who came from Sauber, and Italian rookie Giorgio Pantano. However, mid-way through the season Pantano was replaced by Timo Glock due to commercial difficulties. Jordan was once again fighting with Minardi not to be in the back of the grid.
After Ford decided to sell Cosworth, Jordan had to look for another engine supplier. It was a major blow to the team and rumours go that it was a moment when Eddie Jordan started to realise he had enough from F1. Despite that, it was announced that Mark Smith returned to the team and that the team had secured a deal with Toyota for a one year supply of engines.
Just three days later, Eddie Jordan called it quits and sold the team to the Midland Group, run by Alex Schnaider. Several team members were immediately fired, including Mark Smith. While Jordan's yellow cars were still on the 2005 grid, it had little or nothing to do anymore with Eddie.
As of 2006, the team was renamed to Midland F1 and a new colour scheme was introduced.
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