JANUARY 13, 2002
FORMULA 1 team boss Eddie Jordan has vigorously denied stories that his team is facing financial difficulties. The stories began when the team failed to name Benson & Hedges as its title sponsor for 2002. This was not a surprise as back last summer it was known that B&H was planning to reduce its involvement in F1 a little. Jordan was one of the bidders for the Vodafone deal, offering the mobile telephone company the title sponsorship. In the end, however, Vodafone decided to become a secondary sponsor of Ferrari rather than the title sponsor of Jordan.
The rumors increased somewhat when it became known that Jordan had laid off around 20 people from its non-engineering departments. Jordan said that this amounted to "prudent restructuring" and that the team was profitable and had an ample budget for 2002.
This is probably all true but it does not take away from the fact that the team has still not invested in its planned new factory and windtunnel, while other teams are frantically building as they try to close the gap between themselves and the big teams. With each passing year Jordan's facilities became a little more outdated while teams like Renault Sport, British American Racing, Jaguar and Sauber are all in the process of building up their organizations.
Jordan says, quite rightly, that his team in not in trouble but at the same time it is fair to say that if the team continues without better results the task of finding money is going to become harder and harder. The good news for Jordan is that it has secured Honda engines for at least another three years and that means that it is not going to have to worry about crippling engine bills which affect many off its rivals.
Jordan says that he expects his team to be at least fourth in the World Championship this year. That is not going to be an easy task as Sauber will be strong and Renault Sport is expected to be a big player once again after a very poor season in 2001.
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