The â€˜three week breakâ€™, as F1â€™s summer gap between races has become affectionately known, enabled almost forty of the fifty race team members and a number of test team and factory based staff to enjoy relaxation time away from work. The two...
The ‘three week break’, as F1’s summer gap between races has become affectionately known, enabled almost forty of the fifty race team members and a number of test team and factory based staff to enjoy relaxation time away from work. The two ‘race-free’ weekends have allowed mechanics, truckies and engineers to re-charge their batteries before the final five races of the 2001 season.
A motorbike activity day at Donnington Park on Tuesday 7th proved great escapism for twenty five of Jordan’s bike enthusiasts, who were joined by a further twenty bikers including friends and Honda employees. The two-wheel party roared up to its meeting point outside the Jordan factory early in the morning, before riding out to the Derbyshire track for a day of activities. After watching the morning track session from a hospitality suite overlooking the pit lane, the bikers were then briefed by three times British Motorcycle Champion, Ron Haslam, before taking to the track to learn advanced biking skills, try out the latest Honda bikes and attempt some knee-to-tarmac speed racing. A brave handful were treated to rides on Haslam’s two-seater racer, and a thrilling day was had by all.
JORDAN AND ALESI BACK TOGETHER
Jordan’s Chief Executive, Eddie Jordan, remained as busy as usual over the summer break however, as he worked to secure a second driver for Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda and ensure that the team goes to the Hungarian Grand Prix in full strength. The signing of Jean Alesi for the remainder of the 2001 season, announced on Wednesday 8 August, means that the Frenchman will return to race in Jordan yellow. Alesi rejoins his former Irish boss as well as four Jordan mechanics who he worked with twelve years ago, when he was crowned the 1989 F3000 Champion with Eddie Jordan Racing.
“Jean came to live with me and my family in Oxford twelve years ago,” recalls Jordan. “It is where he learnt his English and how his friendship with my family first developed. In recent years, my daughter Mikki has gone to stay with Jean in France to improve her French for her GSCE and A Levels.”
“It is ironic that there are a lot of circumstances, both on Jean’s side, and on Jordan Grand Prix’s side, which are similar now to how they were in 1989. From a team point of view, Eddie Jordan Racing in ‘89 had a lot of key things in place, but we hadn’t managed to pull them all together. Jean’s arrival completed the jigsaw and we won the Championship that year. Jean’s arrival at Jordan Grand Prix in 2001 brings to the team a driver with a huge amount of experience, coupled with enormous commitment and enthusiasm which can only be a good thing. From Jean’s side, before he came to work for me in 1989 he’d come from an environment which was perhaps too comfortable, and the same could be said today. He’ll really have to graft at Jordan over these last five races but he is in a perfect situation to revive his career.”
“Jean has battled so hard this year. No one can question his motivation. I believe Jordan can get something special out of him and that he can do something special for us. Signing Jean in 1989 was seen as a big risk, much as it is today. The fairy tale of twelve years ago is unlikely to happen again, but there is no reason why we can’t have some good results over the next five races.”
Jean Alesi on the Hungarian Grand Prix “Hungary is not my favourite race on the calendar because the track is quite slow so you can’t really feel the excitement of F1 there. Overtaking is almost impossible and with the heat and twisty nature of the circuit it can be a very physically demanding race. At least I now feel I have a car that is capable of being on the podium and that’s a real boost for my motivation. l’ll still have to find my feet in the team and get to know my new surroundings as well as a new car which will be a lot to do over a Grand Prix weekend, but I’m looking forward to it. Mind you, Jordan is not totally unknown to me as when I visited the factory a few days ago, I found several of the mechanics from my F3000 days were still there. On the canteen wall, there’s a montage of photos of my 1989 car. It made me laugh because I’d written “Goodbye” on it when I left the team but I thought of taking it down and adding, “Hi guys, I’m back!”
Jarno Trulli on the Hungarian Grand Prix “Hungary is always described as a ‘mickey mouse’ track but I must say I like it. My driving style is well suited to it and I have usually been quite competitive here, even if I have not always had much luck during the races.”
Just ten miles south-east of the beautiful city of Budapest lies the Hungaroring with its surrounding hills forming a natural amphitheatre to offer fabulous views of virtually the whole circuit. The raised F1 paddock enables the teams to see much of the track action from the back of the motorhomes which is a refreshing change from watching the race on televisions in the motorhomes and garage. Hungaroring hosted its first Grand Prix in 1986 and its twisty configuration with slow corners makes this circuit one of the slowest on the calendar. Maximum downforce is required for fast cornering and with few overtaking opportunities, a good qualifying position is crucial. This race is a pleasure for the teams as they stay in the heart of the stunning and historic city of Budapest.