Pantano defends his talents

New Jordan signing Giorgio Pantano admits that his sponsorship deal played a part in getting the race seat but defends his own talents by saying he deserved it. Jordan never made any secret of the fact that it was looking for a driver with...

New Jordan signing Giorgio Pantano admits that his sponsorship deal played a part in getting the race seat but defends his own talents by saying he deserved it. Jordan never made any secret of the fact that it was looking for a driver with financial backing, which was going to put pressure on any driver, no matter how talented they were.

Pantano was signed after negotiations with Jos Verstappen fell through but the Italian was not chosen for money alone. He won the German F3 title on his first attempt and has since competed in F3000, as well as previously testing in F1 for McLaren, Williams and Benetton.

"It would be foolish to deny reality," he told Gazetta dello Sport in regard to the financial side. "Lately people look a lot at this aspect. And it's right, because there are teams with difficulties."

"In any case, I think I've deserved this opportunity: it's not by chance that Jordan looked for me last year too. I don't deny, however, that my hiring has been eased thanks to the sponsors I brought."

Pantano is not expecting an easy ride with Jordan this year. The team struggled in 2003 and despite Giancarlo Fisichella's maiden victory in Brazil, it was a tough season.

"To be competitive we must work hard and well," Pantano commented. "Anyway, this is a team with a big tradition, launching great drivers and winning, like Fisichella managed to do last year. I want to learn quickly and to work in harmony with my team."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jos Verstappen , Giorgio Pantano
Teams McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Jordan