Jordan confident that new car will continue climb

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Jan. 31, 2000-In the past four years, Team Jordan has finished sixth, fifth, fourth and third, respectively, in the Formula One World Constructors Championship. This year the team hopes to continue that countdown trend, and...

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Jan. 31, 2000-In the past four years, Team Jordan has finished sixth, fifth, fourth and third, respectively, in the Formula One World Constructors Championship. This year the team hopes to continue that countdown trend, and it's aiming at second place in the constructors standings. "From sixth to fifth to fourth to third," team owner Eddie Jordan said, "I believe we can make second spot." "We are on the way up," Jordan said. "Who says the sequence has to be broken, but I never liked finishing second!" Jordan was speaking after the team's new car-the Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda EJ10-was unveiled before more than 1,000 media and sponsor guests at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London's West End on Jan. 31. The car is called the EJ10 in honor of Eddie Jordan's 10th year as a Formula One constructor. During those 10 years, the Jordan staff has grown from 43 to over 200, and its budget has increased 800 percent. While aiming for second place, Jordan said the team would have to wait and see how the new cars from Ferrari and West McLaren-Mercedes perform. "We need to see what the cars from Ferrari and McLaren are like," Jordan said with caution. "When we see that, then we will be in a better position to judge where we will end up. "There has been a change of driver at Ferrari, and we will have to wait to see what impact there is having Rubens Barrichello replace Eddie Irvine. That could be slightly to our advantage. "McLaren is very solid, and their continuity is beyond doubt. They have two very talented drivers there, including the current World Champion. It is not going to be an easy task, but I promise you that we do feel that we have something, and it would be a disaster in our minds if we couldn't continue to grow as we have in the past years." Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who won two Grands Prix for Jordan last year and finished third in the Drivers World Championship, returns to Jordan for a second season. "I'm not a fortune teller," Frentzen said, "so it's easy to say that we will win more. We want to start where we finished last year. It's 'thin air' up there with McLaren and Ferrari, but we are confident." Frentzen's new teammate is Italy's Jarno Trulli, who joins Jordan after stints at Minardi and Prost. Asked if he thought Trulli would push him harder than his 1999 teammate Damon Hill did, Frentzen replied: "I hope so. "It helps the whole team. If the team knows we have two drivers who are very motivated, they feel responsible to be motivated as well. But that is not a problem because the team is very sharp. I'm amazed at the team people doing day and night shifts and working very hard. They must be working 100 hours a week." After driving for Italian and French teams, Trulli said he is settling in well with the English-Irish Jordan team. "I met the whole team during the winter and have worked well with them in testing," Trulli said. "The team is relaxed but very concentrated. It's amazing to see how the whole group tries so hard to succeed." Eddie Jordan had nothing but praise for his two drivers. "With the feeling, the commitment, the buzz and the vibrations that they are bringing to the team," Jordan said, "there are not another two drivers that I would swap them for. "Trulli is young, and he is totally dedicated with a huge turn of speed, which he proved by being world karting champion. You don't become world karting champion unless you are something very special. "Michael Schumacher said he thought the championship would be between himself, Frentzen and Mika Hakkinen again. Let's see what's going to happen. I would be surprised if Heinz was not fighting for the top three in the championship this year. I do believe that he can win races and has a car that can win." Jordan's technical director, Mike Gascoyne, and his staff designed the new car. It is lower and lighter than last year's car. "We've made improvements in all areas-aerodynamics, mechanical layout of the car and everything," Gascoyne said. "So it will be a good step forward. We will be looking for reliability in early testing. Anytime you take a lot of weight out of the car to improve performance, things are going to break earlier, so you have to be on top of that." Asked if he thought Jordan could continue the countdown to second place in the Constructors Championship, Gascoyne said: "We closed up enough to the big two that if they don't make a big step and we make the step we think we have, then we keep them honest. "We have to look to win. My brief is always to win Grands Prix competitively, and by that I mean you qualify on the front row and you win from the front rather than inheriting wins. We hope we have a car that can do that. Realistically we have to look at finishing a closer third." Power comes from the Mugen-Honda V10. Honda has returned to F1 this season after an absence of seven years, and it supplies engines to British American Racing. During those past seasons, however, Honda remained involved in F1 via its sister company Mugen-Honda. While the two programs share some resources and technology, the engines used by Jordan and BAR are not the same.

-IRL/IMS-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Mika Hakkinen , Eddie Jordan , Damon Hill , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , British American Racing , Minardi , Jordan