Following his first race for Jordan at the Hungarian Grand Prix, we asked Jean for his impressions. How have you been affected after suddenly being launched into the Formula One limelight with Jordan? "I haven't really been affected that much....
Following his first race for Jordan at the Hungarian Grand Prix, we asked Jean for his impressions.
How have you been affected after suddenly being launched into the Formula One limelight with Jordan?
"I haven't really been affected that much. I still race a Formula One car but am just incredibly happy to be at Jordan. The main difference at the Hungarian Grand Prix was how much I was in demand from the media -- it was a very busy weekend for me."
What led you to leave the Prost team?
"I received a letter from Alain (Prost) that really upset me, and I decided there and then that I wanted to stop racing for Prost, even if that meant I would not be in F1 anymore. Once I had made my decision, I spoke to Eddie (Jordan)."
How close are you to Eddie Jordan and how does it feel to finally race for him again after being in F3000 together?
"I have known Eddie for about 12 years. When I started in F3000 back in 1989 with Eddie Jordan Racing, I went to live with Eddie and his family in Oxford which is where I learnt my English. He also launched me into F1 by organising my drive with Tyrrell, so I owe him a lot. Being given this opportunity to race at Jordan is very motivating for me."
What are your first impressions of the Jordan Honda EJ11?
"I drove the car at a shakedown on the Monday prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, but as we could only run for 50km I used the time to familiarise myself with the car and find a set-up and driving position that were comfortable for me. However, the EJ11 felt very good to drive. In Hungary, I was so excited -- almost too excited to drive the car -- but it was great to be in a car that felt competitive and consistent. Jarno's fifth position in qualifying at Hungary showed me what the car is capable of and I want to be able to maximise its potential in the same way -- but this may take time. I found the race quite tough as I was learning things about the car all the time and trying to remember which buttons to use and work with a clutch on the steering wheel as opposed to having a pedal, which I am used to. To bring the car home without any troubles was a good end to an exciting weekend for me, although next time I hope to bring it home in the points."
This year, you have driven with Honda and Ferrari engines and Bridgestone and Michelin tyres. In your experience, how do they compare?
"It would not be fair to start making comparisons between engines, tyres or chassis. I would not break the trust I had with Ferrari and Michelin and the same applies to my relationship with Honda and Bridgestone."
How do you see your future in F1 and with Jordan panning out over the next couple of years?
"It is too early to say. I have a contract with Jordan until the end of the season when Eddie and I will re-evaluate our positions, but of course I would like to stay at Jordan."
What about life after F1?
"I haven't thought about it. I still have a passion for what I do and that is what matters at the moment."
Jordan Grand Prix