Chinese GP: Thursday press conference

Chinese Grand Prix FIA Thursday press conference transcript with Flavio Briatore (Renault managing director) Eddie Jordan (Jordan team principal) Tony Purnell (Ford CEO Premier Performance Divison) *Note: Eddie Jordan is representing the...

Chinese Grand Prix FIA Thursday press conference transcript with

Flavio Briatore (Renault managing director)
Eddie Jordan (Jordan team principal)
Tony Purnell (Ford CEO Premier Performance Divison)

*Note: Eddie Jordan is representing the Jordan team rather than Ian Phillips and David Richards is not here through Force Majeur as he was retained in Europe, for the Contracts Recognition Board hearing. Continuing the policy of a guest questioner, we have, this time, Matt Bishop of F1 Racing.

Q: A question to all of you. Here we are in China, an extraordinary facility. Can you just say something about the achievement and the importance and significance of the first Chinese Grand Prix?

Eddie Jordan: I came out here, I think, at Christmas time and was hugely impressed and similarly, a little bit like Bahrain, not really believing they could get it all completed. What we see here is absolutely amazing, fantastic, and they need all the congratulations that you can imagine because it's the detail, it's things like the teams' rooms and the facilities there and we don't have that anywhere else, and these people have set the benchmark. Also, I think China is particularly important. It is the emerging or emerged marketplace of the future, we have collected three sponsors from here, which is always a good sign -- I might as well give them a plug: Citibank, B&Q and Beijing Chateau -- and look, to get those people to come to someone like Jordan I am enormously pleased, so long may it continue here in China.

Tony Purnell: I have travelled around China a bit in the last few months and the way the country has modernised is incredible. It is a statement to the world that China is arriving and is one of the most modern nations on the planet. This is the way to do it, with Formula One, and I am looking forward to the weekend.

Flavio Briatore: I agree with Eddie and what everybody has said -- the circuit is fantastic. This is an example, in Asia, we see Malaysia, we see Bahrain, we see Shanghai, it is much better than Europe. The circuits in Europe are now looking really, really bad. We should invite promoters from Europe, from Magny Cours and Silverstone, to come here.

Eddie Jordan: He obviously hasn't said Imola and...

Flavio Briatore: Eddie, I said examples...

Eddie Jordan: Okay, sorry.

Q: So, you are saying, Flavio, that the European facilities are not comparable and aren't satisfactory?

Flavio Briatore: No, honestly, you see enough in Bahrain, forget Malaysia, this is fantastic and, I mean, to beat this one is really, really difficult. For me, Bahrain was already impressive but this one is better. Really, the circuits in Europe, the facilities are very poor. We have six or seven circuits that are not for Formula One any more, there are no facilities at all, and we pay the same price anyway.

Q: Okay, well, the Chinese Grand Prix is the good news. I suppose the bad news was provided by Tony on Friday. Tony, could you please clarify Friday's announcement for us all? Ford has said that Jaguar racing will not be in Formula One next year but the team is for sale is that correct?

Tony Purnell: That's correct, yes.

Q: Any interest yet? Buyers?

Tony Purnell: There is masses of interest. Of course, Formula One generates a lot of people who want to take a chance and we are sifting through the realistic buyers from the, erm, chancers, if you will, and there is masses of interest and I think one has to be fairly confident that a solution will be found.

Q: You say there is a lot of interest and you are sifting through the bids, but can you answer this: Is HSBC and Ford, because I gather HSBC are handling the sale, are you only going to take bids from credible, blue-chip parties or would you be willing to sell to an ambitious entrepreneur for the right price?

Tony Purnell: The fact is that we are only going to sell to a credible buyer and the idea of buying a Formula One team is a little bit of a misnomer, it is all about funding a Formula One team on an ongoing basis and we are only going to change the ownership to somebody who has the means to do a credible job for two or three years. There is no interest in taking a chance with someone who is hoping for a sponsor on a wing and a prayer and goes bust halfway through next year. That's not going to happen.

Q: And it is pretty common knowledge that Red Bull was a possibility earlier in the year and that possibly that didn't happen, maybe, because of the Ford Motor Company, but Ford Motor Company is not an issue any more.

Tony Purnell: The whole process is a confidential one, so I am not going to talk about any individual bid, but rest assured, I have contacted every potential buyer that I know of and I have to say one of the big challenges at the moment is finding time to sleep because it is a global business so I am getting phone calls night and day.

Q: And you said in the last few months you have travelled extensively in China. Presumably that was just tourism?

Tony Purnell: (Laughs) No, I see what is going on in this country and one day I am sure they will be a player in Formula One and like Eddie I saw there was real potential here for sponsorship and maybe something to produce a compelling business case for Ford. Sadly that wasn't the way it ended up.

Q: You are a Ford man. Do you think Ford has behaved properly in this matter?

Tony Purnell: When you are a company as big as Ford you do have to make brutal decisions and with their Jaguar car brand they had a lot of difficulties this year, they have had to close a big plant, so I understand why they feel this was a necessary move. When you look back, in retrospect, there are always better ways to handle any situation and I am sure that's the case here as always, but hopefully this will turn out well for the employees. I have had nothing but complements from the Ford board about the way we have managed the company in the last two years. The press have been very kind to how good the team is and how well it's run these days, and I think that if we don't find a sort of keen new owner it says much more about the health of Formula One as a business than anything to do about the present players. So, Ford today are being helpful in trying to find a buyer and that's what I want more than anything.

Q: Well, we all want that, I am sure everyone hopes that there is a buyer both for Jaguar Racing and Cosworth Racing, but Eddie to your right and Paul Stoddart, who is in attendance here, have both, I am sure, had potential interest from buyers over the last little while and due diligences and so on. Do you really think it is possible that you can sell the team by November 15, which is when you have to lodge your application to compete in the 2005 championship?

Tony Purnell: Absolutely I believe that, and if I didn't I wouldn't be here.

Q: Okay. What would your message be to the mechanics and engineers and everybody, who have done such a good job?

Tony Purnell: Well, look, the spirit in the team, given the circumstances, is phenomenal. They have come here absolutely wanting to prove that the team is capable of running and getting points, and that's this weekend's mission. I know some of the top guys at Jaguar have been approached by some of the very top teams in Formula One, been offered fabulous jobs and instead, they have said 'no, we want to stick with this' because they have something really, really good going here. I can't imagine handing someone who wanted to be in Formula One a better starting point and, compared to previous years, the barrier to entry is as low as possible now. So, for somebody who really wants to see their brand globalised through success in Formula One, there couldn't be a better opportunity than there is now.

Q: Staying on the same subject, but moving to Eddie, we have just had Black Friday. When did you get notice of Ford's decision to pull Jaguar Racing, and more particularly Cosworth Racing, out of Formula One?

Eddie Jordan: Well, my situation is slightly different, where I have an instruction from Tony that I am only allowed to speak to Tony or Bernard Ferguson (of Cosworth) on any matter relating to our relationship. Either they were busy or their phones were turned off, but I wasn't able to reach either of them. But, to be fair, I was told that they were not allowed to speak to me as well. So, it was kind of complicated. I wasn't sure what was happening, but then I was in a meeting and at 20 or 15 minutes before 12, when the announcement was made, there was a bit of panic but Richard Parry-Jones did speak to me, he did tell me then.

Q: Obviously, you have spent a lot of money on Cosworth engines in recent years. Do you think that was an appropriate way to be treated as a customer?

Eddie Jordan: Well, you can have your own view but I am not so sure the people in the media need to know that and if you have spent $38 million (Dollars) someone should have told you in advance to give you some notice to tell your sponsors and stuff so it wasn't out the dark, I don't know. Everybody plays this differently, so I am not going to castigate somebody. But when you give people notice then it spreads out and it leaks, so there are obviously different arguments for both. I felt very much a part of Ford. It's not easy to win a race these days, we all know, and I have won a race with them, albeit extremely luckily by some peoples' standards. It was lucky, but we did win a race for Ford, so I can feel that the relationship has split with some element of success. But I am really, really disappointed because I thought they were going to change the name and that Jaguar was going to become Ford. Tony himself went to see our sponsor, Deutsche Post, with Ford Motorsport and told them what they were going to do and that was only two weeks ago. That obviously came back, Tony and I discussed that at the last race and they had felt very good about us and the Ford connection. So I don't know what happened in those two weeks but obviously a complete change of tack has happened, but it completely blew me away. I had no idea that Cosworth and Ford were going to exit through Jaguar. And I have written to Tony and said I am disappointed for him and his staff.

Tony Purnell: Eddie gave me just about the first phone call I got after the announcement and it was a very warm...

Eddie Jordan: It wasn't that abusive at that stage! (Laughter)

Q: Actually, I was going to bring you in there to say, obviously, that it is significant that Eddie feels understandably disappointed, but there are significant things he is not saying as well. How do you react to his indication that he has been hard done by and unfairly treated?

Tony Purnell: It's a business arrangement, you know, and it is always wrong to use these events to discuss business relationships.

Q: Eddie, you obviously were expecting to use Ford Cosworth engines next year. That has now gone into a very questionable area. What impact has this news had on your team's chances of survival?

Eddie Jordan: Well, I think it's fair -- I don't know if Tony wants to discuss it -- but there are certain things with Ford now no longer....what surprised me, when Richard Parry-Jones spoke to me he gave me a glimmer of hope when he said 'look, Tony will speak to you tomorrow or whenever it's possible for you to get together' and I wanted to speak to Tony straight away because he gave me a glimmer of hope and said 'look, I think there may be something that we can do to supply you with Cosworth'. When I spoke to Tony, actually the thing that Cosworth were prepared to do was to double the price of the engine, which was because Ford could no longer put money in to develop the engine. So, the good news was that maybe Cosworth would give us an engine, but at a price that was double that we were already paying, so I can't see how that would work.

Q: So you wont be taking them up on that offer then?

Eddie Jordan: Well, they haven't put it in writing yet. I am eagerly awaiting that piece of script.

Q: Well, I have to ask the question Eddie: Will Jordan be on the grid in Melbourne next year, do you think?

Eddie Jordan: Well, it's a difficult one to answer if one is to be realistic about the situation. I am an absolute fighter, as indeed, may I say, are the vast majority of the private teams, and I am not just giving a little 'one-up' for the private teams. But, look, what happened last weekend with Ford is every justification that the private teams are very essential to Formula One, because we are there through hard times, tough times, and it has been a tough time for Jordan. We had our good times, but we are happy to wait around...(microphone cuts). I'm back, they can't get rid of me that easy! (Laughter). Somebody from Ford in there, doing the...sorry Tony! Where was I? Look! I believe firmly that Formula One has to have a strong element of the private teams because manufacturers come and go as and when, and the private teams are the people who keep preserving that platform to enable manufacturers, who we all need in the championship (to enter). But the foundation of that championship has to be on the continual performance of private teams, so I will fight tooth and nail to be on that grid in Australia next year, but can I guarantee anything? I am not prepared to discuss that at the moment. But for sure I won't go down without a big fight.

Q: Eddie, you say Formula One needs the privateer teams, but Bernie Ecclestone doesn't agree with you. Yesterday on Radio Five Live, and I can quote actually, he said: "Sure, the brand in Formula One is big enough to survive all these things, in fact it will probably be better. Three cars from all the top teams and we will have 20 very competitive cars.' In the circumstances, when it's no secret that your team's for sale, Tony's team is for sale, other teams are for sale, Paul Stoddart is sitting here, his team's for sale. Do you think the commercial rights holder has been helpful by publicising that view?

Eddie Jordan: I am sure he has his own view as to why he said that, but just taking a cold view without going to talk to him about what his rationale was (behind that comment) can you create and motivate staff when you get those sort of comments from the leader of your championship? When you are talking to a sponsor it's very easy for another team to come and say 'look, you have heard what he said, why bother being with Jordan, come with us', and the same with the staff. But I am sure Bernie has something in the back of his mind which he may be trying to help, but I wish it was just a bit more obvious for us. I am not going to make comment as to why Bernie said something. He said it, it's what he believes in, he is a very straightforward guy, that's what he believes. I believe differently. I believe there is a place for the private teams. I believe we need as much assistance as we can because, remember, we have all done particularly well out of this business because most of you people here have been the same people here 20 something years ago. And on that basis, we owe our career, our lives to this sport, it has been very good to us, but when it's in trouble you have to dig deep and pull it back out -- and we need to dig deep at the moment.

Q: Tony, do you think Bernie's remarks have helped your chances of selling the team?

Tony Purnell: I think they are neutral at the end of the day. Formula One's health will be measured by a good grid of well-funded teams with sponsors that are there because it makes good business sense. The teams are there because it adds up. At the moment there is a little bit of a crisis because for the top manufacturer teams it adds up and for the rest of the grid it doesn't, and I have urged reform over the last year, both commercially and technically, to get the sport under control, and it does need to lower its costs, it needs to improve the business case to be healthy. Bernie is well aware of that and he will take action.

Q: Flavio, Bernie Ecclestone has talked about three car teams. What would the implication be for running three cars for a team like Renault?

Flavio Briatore: I think this press conference makes no sense. Here we are in China for the first race and you start talking about the problem for Jordan. If Jordan has a problem and if Tony has a problem, I'm sure this is not the place to resolve the problem. Instead of being enthusiastic to come to this place, where the people have made a lot of effort to prepare for an incredible race, you guys try to turn things around as usual for no reason. Really. I'm not prepared to answer any questions because I don't like a press conference like this, only talking about the problems for Formula One. Everybody has problems, not only in these areas. We need to resolve our problems. If somebody makes a $300m or $400m investment in Formula One, I think this is very positive for Formula One, but you guys only like to look at the bad things. There's a lot of jealousy and you guys are part of that jealousy. I think this press conference is completely disgusting.

Q: I'm only asking the questions because Ford has made this announcement, so it's of interest to all journalists.

Flavio Briatore: Yeah, I don't think people in China are so interested about Cosworth or Jordan. I think they are interested to see the race, to make sure that everyone's on the grid on Sunday and it looks like everyone will be on the grid on Sunday and if Jordan is on the grid in Melbourne, I don't think it's really a question you need to ask to Jordan. Jordan has a team, has the consultants... You know, we are running a business, we are not shy and sure, we are not resolving our businesses in front of you guys. This is completely mad. We are losing time, you guys are losing time for nothing.

Q: Well I did want to ask you questions about this weekend, for instance, your driver Jacques Villeneuve, would you like to answer questions about how that came about?

Flavio Briatore: Yeah, because it's part of the race, it's part of the show we're putting on in China. I like to answer this question. But if you ask me about my budget, or Renault's budget, or whether Renault wants to give engines to Eddie, I would tell you no. I'm sick and tired of this kind of conference.

Q: OK, but I'm asking you if you could explain how the Jacques Villeneuve deal came about?

Flavio Briatore: Jacques Villeneuve is driving for me tomorrow; tomorrow he starts practice like everybody. We've going to give him as much mileage as possible because he hasn't been in the car for ten months. I believe it's good news for all of Formula One, because now that the World Championship is finished nobody is asking any longer 'is Michael winning this race or the next one?' And only the good news, or the different news is Villeneuve. I believe we are making a contribution to talking about positive things in Formula One.

Q: Flavio, you were talking about Jacques Villeneuve. Do you think he's still got what it takes to be a winner, and if so, why didn't you sign him for next year?

Flavio Briatore: I don't know. (Laughter). I needed to have something in the team and I'm not in the same situation as Tony or Jordan. When you're in the same situation as I am in for the last four races, you have 800 people in the team, you are pushing everybody very hard to make the pieces for both cars, to make sure the car is competitive, and afterwards you see one driver making a big effort and one driver making less effort. It was very very difficult for the team, and I needed to do something. I believe what I've done is something sensible, it was my only opportunity. I talked to Jacques and he looked like he was together. He wanted to race and was very motivated to race against BAR anyway, so this was something more, a plus and it looked good. If you tell me tomorrow what he's doing on Sunday... he will make the car finish in the points. This is what I need from Jacques, to motivate the team, motivate Fernando and this is what I'm trying to do, to have a point, to finish second in the championship. And next year? I've already signed Fisichella. It was very difficult to sign both drivers.

Q: Gentlemen, as you say, this is a state of the art track, it sets the benchmark. But how do we balance out keeping those tracks in Europe that maybe don't have the money but have supported Formula One for 30 or 40 or 50 years, and do have the tradition that we do want to keep in there? How do we balance out maybe keeping those tracks in, compared to having this one and Bahrain etc?

Tony Purnell: I think that the way it's heading is that we're going to have more races. Formula One attracts massive publicity, people want to see it and the solution seems to me to give them more races, so I think that's the way it's going to head. Whether the teams find that arduous or not, I think the future beckons with more races so that the great European races are kept alive and the great new world race tracks are used to their fullest extent. It's actually a good problem to have.

Eddie Jordan: Yes, that's exactly right. You have to make sure that you keep putting the level of the benchmark up, the bar as if you're doing the high jump and this is at the highest point now, this is World Championship. Bahrain, here, as Flavio said, Malaysia, a couple of very good races. Of course we all enjoy... What is happening, unfortunately, is that the -- as we call them -- flyaway races seem to have that much better edge to them at the moment and there's more excitement. People talk about them and this is a big race. Not many people knew what they were going to expect. The city, what they've built in the last ten years, is just phenomenal. Next year we're going to Turkey and then there's talk about a race in Northern Africa or one in Russia. You can see what's happening. There is money, there is a bigger demand for this kind of business and usually supply and demand come together quite well and that's what's happening. I think that you will find that there will be more flyaway races because these countries see that there's a huge economic value for it, which may be because the European people have got a little bit lazy or tired with that or maybe there's too many other sporting issues: football, rugby, golf, God knows what. In China and these other places, maybe this is the biggest sporting event on their calendar every year so they're making sure that they put a huge effort into making sure that they get full recognition and value for that.

Flavio Briatore: I think the same. What is important to understand as well is that at this moment we have done double the mileage in testing and not in the race. You know the race is all about winning money, testing we are losing money and we double the mileage. Our point is that we should stop that. I agree as well that we need to have more income and everybody is happy about that and I'm sure we are getting to the point where we have more income for the team, it's fundamental. But we need to cap the expenses as well, because if you have $50m more you spend $50m. Our people are phenomenal at spending money. I've never seen people like that. If I have ten, people spend eleven. We need more races. Our job is racing and we need to cut testing, because testing costs you exactly the same as racing, and a facility like this is fantastic for a sponsor, fantastic for Formula One. People are investing millions and millions of dollars in our business.

Tony Purnell: Just an observation: don't forget that this is the newest track in the world, it should be the best track in the world. The European ones are 20- or 30-years old. One day this place will be 20- or 30-years old. It's very very attractive now, it's the benchmark but the European tracks were built a very long time ago. You can't really redo them every week.

Eddie Jordan: It's like a car. If you don't invest in it you don't sell it.

Q: Flavio, you did a good operation with Supertec when Renault was in a similar position that Ford is in now. Are you interested, as Flavio Briatore, not as the manager of Renault, to repeat the same operation with Cosworth?

Flavio Briatore: I think the timing was different. Sure, I was with Renault and they gave us notice one year before. But it's something if you have one year notice you know what you are doing. And it's something if you have two months notice, you know what you're doing. I think the situation with Eddie and Tony is really difficult. With Renault it was quite simple. A year before, they told me that next year they had a different strategy. Was I interested in taking Renault Sport at the time? I had one year to think about it, one year to find a customer because at the time, the problem for me was to find a customer. And in the end I did the deal. It was great for me, for Renault, for the team. Now the situation is a little bit different because Formula One is very demanding and the manufacturer has a different speed, different expenses as well and I am too busy trying to keep Renault in second place this year and maybe win the championship next year. I don't really have time to do that.

Q: If, as you indicate, there is so much money in the sport and so much demand for more races, why is it so difficult for the smaller teams to find enough money to survive in Formula One?

Flavio Briatore: Like I said before, Formula One has changed a little bit with the manufacturers. I started with a small team, very very small, and basically started at the same time as Eddie -- one year earlier, two years earlier. As a matter of fact, I tried to get Eddie to work for me at one point. Eddie had a F3000 team. It's different, the world changes; now it's very very difficult. I tell you why; it is very simple: Formula One costs too much, it is no secret. For the sponsor, it's a big big investment. You need the decision of the board of the company before... In our time, the commercial director did the deal with us. Now, because it costs so much money you need the decision of the board of directors. This is the problem. You need to cut expenses. Add more income from Bernie or the bank or whoever is the owner of Formula One and after that we need to improve the sponsorship. Really, at the moment, we are asking too much of the sponsor to be in Formula One, and we give too little.

Eddie Jordan: Let's be very clear. The problem with the smaller teams, it's not anyone else's problem but their own. It's I, my obligation to the Jordan team, to find the commercial way to give us the best competitive edge. And whilst that may have been easier in years gone by as Flavio says, you can't really blame manufacturers. They can spend what they want. It's their business. There is no cut, there's no cap, it is arguable whether it's the right thing to do, even if you did do it. You cannot restrict people spending what they want to spend. We do live in a democracy. I have failed in being able to attract the right level of commercial sponsorship for my team. But the team has to run in profit, otherwise you are insolvent and you can be wound up. The difference is, when you're a manufacturer, if there is a budget and if the team loses the money - it's no secret, most of the teams if not all of the teams are losing money -- but when you have, if you like, a manufacturer that has the ability to offset certain costs against certain things, then you are lucky. You're not in a privileged position, it's just the way life is and that's the way it is between the manufacturer teams and the private teams. There is not enough money to go around at the moment and we seem to be fighting other sports that perhaps are beginning to become more assertive as to how they go about their business so the parameters have changed and we just have to find a new way of finding extra money. So it's our fault, not anyone else's.

Tony Purnell: For me, being in charge of a Formula One team you see how all the accounts work. The sponsorship and the team costs match, broad brush, but there's still a buoyant market with the sponsors but you have got to be able to tell your sponsor a good story about how you're going to do well. The bit that becomes very difficult is if you have to purchase the engines, like Eddie does, because that means money that could go to the team goes to the engine and you want to be able to say to a prospective sponsor 'we can compete at the highest level'. And for that, you need a modern, up-to-date engine. So if the independent teams have a future, it will be decided by engine supply, because that's the only bit of the economics that fails to add up. The cost of the team and the sponsorship you can raise for a team, match quite nicely and if you do a good job, you get lots of sponsors. If you struggle, it's much more of an issue. But you must give the sponsor a coherent story that you can do well. And if you have to spend millions and millions of dollars on the engine when your team is struggling to do the things it needs to do, it's not a good story. I think that's why Eddie has struggled, and Paul, and there is no room for the independent teams until that is resolved. Is that fair?

Eddie Jordan: We shouldn't go too far into that but it's fair that you have to add yourself into that. Jaguar Racing has under-performed this year and I think anyone, with the greatest respect... we had all hoped for more performance from the engine and by your own admission we are too far behind the big guys. Now whether that's the investment that Ford should have put into the engine as part of the agreement I don't know. I don't want to get into a political argument, that should be done outside, but it is clear that for every 10hp you have 0.15 seconds per lap so if you multiply that by ten or 14 or whatever you're down on the engine, the amount of money put in by big engine manufacturers is mind-blowing, so maybe it's not all Ford's fault. It is very easy to sit up here and point the finger and blame everybody, but it all comes down to the same thing. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say 'I did a lousy job, I didn't find the money.' That's it, end of story.

Q: Tony, just for reasons of clarity, when you hand your team over to a possible buyer, what does the buyer actually own? Machinery, premises, people, TV rights and intellectual property, whatever? Does the potential buyer buy into all those things?

Tony Purnell: Yeah. If you want to buy the team you get the lot -- wind tunnels, machinery, staff, position in the Concorde Agreement, everything. Quite simple.

Q: Flavio, did you consider the possibility to run Renault test driver Franck Montagny for the last three Grands Prix?

Flavio Briatore: It looks like not. (Laughter). Not at any time. Never, touch wood, have had force majeure, absolutely not, because we decided to run Jacques Villeneuve for the last three races. We announced this one week ago and we stuck with the decision.

Q: Tony, you were talking about a buyer for your team. How much would it cost?

Flavio Briatore: OK, let's start the negotiations. Somebody want to buy? (Laughter).

Eddie Jordan: Flavio should buy, don't we agree? He's got more cash than anyone else.

Tony Purnell: It's not about the purchase price, it's about a good sponsor for the years to come.

Eddie Jordan: Sorry, I would like clarification on that. Are you saying you would turn down money? Are you saying you would turn down, in your view, a bad purchaser? Or is all money the same? Because, do you know something, when I go to my bank manager on Monday morning, he doesn't like cashing promises. He doesn't know how to do them. But he does like cash, and he does like cheques, and bank transfers -- loves them -- but he hates promises. So if you could try and tell me what a good sponsor and a bad sponsor, because I started in banking and I never met any kind of an agreement like that before but maybe it's a new one, I don't know. Try me.

Tony Purnell: If you are multinational or a billionaire you are credible.

Flavio Briatore: The colour of the money.

Eddie Jordan: But you know when I go to the bingo hall at night and I buy my book of cards, my money is the same as the granny next door and I still get a book of cards and the guy handing them out doesn't make the choice whether I deserve one or don't deserve one. Are you going to have a selection committee, that you'll have that many buyers? What's the story? Can you please give us some idea? Because I could do with a partner and I tell you what: I haven't found one yet and I don't know how he's going to do it in the next week.

Tony Purnell: We are trivialising a serious episode. It's being very professionally handled. Ford will not sell to a buyer who does not have the credibility to take the team forwards.

Eddie Jordan: Unlike me.

Flavio Briatore: Exactly, this is the reason why you ask this question.

Q: Eddie, question for you. Jaguar have to make a decision on the sale by mid-November, clearly. Putting it bluntly, how long have you got? When is the point of no return for next season?

Eddie Jordan: Well, I make my own decisions. Ford can make decisions in a very short number of minutes and l suppose I could do the same. And on that basis I intend to be in Adelaide or, where is it? (Laughter) Melbourne, yeah. God bless Adelaide. I tell you, this business make you a bit scrambled up in the head. Look what happened to Flavio! The reality is, why should I make a decision today when I don't have to make that decision? Ford have made their decision. I'm going to do everything possible. I feel Jordan is a credible member of Formula One and will break its balls until it's proved itself that it can't do it. It will do everything it possibly can. So I'm not going to answer, I can't answer the question. I will fight 'till I can no longer fight.

Tony Purnell: It's very easy to conjure up doom and gloom on all this but the fact is that you only have to see this circuit to see that Formula One does attract a great deal of money. It's a very attractive sport to millions of people weekend in and out and given that environment I believe that people will step up and say we want to use this platform to promote our brand or our business. The next few months will tell if that optimism is justified or not.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Franck Montagny , Eddie Jordan , Paul Stoddart , Flavio Briatore , David Richards , Richard Parry-Jones , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Jaguar Racing , Jordan