This year Jordan has been more industrious than ever in the weeks preceding the season opener in Melbourne; with pre-season testing running until the latest possible moment, a spectacular eleventh-hour EJ12 launch being held at Brussels airport to...
This year Jordan has been more industrious than ever in the weeks preceding the season opener in Melbourne; with pre-season testing running until the latest possible moment, a spectacular eleventh-hour EJ12 launch being held at Brussels airport to coincide with the announcement of DHL as the team’s new title sponsor, the re-liverying of all the team equipment and a stop-over in Tokyo to attend a Honda press conference.
The start of the 2002 season sees a number of changes and new faces welcomed at Jordan. Giancarlo Fisichella’s return to the team after a four-year stretch at Benetton (now Renault) has proven very popular, the Italian ace settling in easily and bringing with him a wealth of experience. Team mate Takuma Sato carries Japan’s hopes as he prepares to make his Formula One debut, the reigning British Formula 3 Champion having worked extremely hard during the team’s winter test programme and enjoying not only the prospect of his first Grand Prix but also his first visit to Australia.
Gary Anderson, who first joined Jordan at its inception in 1990 and was the technical brain behind Jordan cars over an eight year period, re-joins the team as Director of Race and Test Engineering, following three years working with Jaguar Racing and Reynard Motorsport. Internal progression sees Rob Smedley and James Key become race engineers to Fisichella and Sato respectively, while Tim Edwards (from Melbourne, Australia), who was previously Test Team Manager, becomes Race Team Manager and Andy Stevenson, Jordan Grand Prix’s longest serving employee, is Chief Mechanic.
Eddie Jordan:“ Our new agreement with DHL demonstrates that our sport continues to provide an excellent global marketing platform despite much talk of tough times in Formula One.. The first race will be a tough fight but the team has been working non-stop to make sure we develop the EJ12 as much as possible and we have made a lot of progress, particularly in the last few weeks. We also have two very gifted drivers; Takuma is a fresh and exciting talent, and Giancarlo’s exceptional ability and experience is widely acknowledged. He has matured and developed immensely since he drove for us in 1997 and has raced at Melbourne many times. Whilst my ultimate target is to be winning again, I have to be realistic and of course it will never be easy to score points as there are a lot of manufacturers involved and everyone wants results.”
Giancarlo Fisichella:“ I'm happy to be back at Jordan. It is a great motivation for me, because I had my best year in Formula One with this team in 1997. The EJ12 has had a few problems, many of which we have resolved in testing, and the car has good potential. As usual, the team is very friendly and there are a lot of mechanics I remember from before, which made me feel comfortable very quickly. The engine is promising, and although it needs more development, no one can question Honda's ability to reach the top given its history in F1.”
Takuma Sato:“ I am really looking forward to my first Formula One race, although I am a bit nervous about my first GP start. I hope we can be somewhere near the front, but realistically we still have work to do before we can expect results. The biggest change for me will be the increased level of technology in F1. Melbourne will be difficult, as I have never driven here before but, although I imagine it will be tough, I am optimistic.”
The EJ12 had its first shakedown on 21 January and has since tested in Spain and England during past weeks, with three EJ12 chassis completing a combined total of 4140 kilometres over 17 days of testing. The overall design is based on the EJ11 but with some major revisions, specifically to the front and rear suspensions. It is the second Jordan car to incorporate works Honda engines and this year’s RA002E features an increased V angle and compact packaging resulting in less weight and a lower centre of gravity. Increased power means that Honda’s latest unit gives the EJ12 great potential for the season ahead.