JUNE 10, 1996
Brundle under threat...
MARTIN BRUNDLE's career with the Jordan Peugeot team is rumored to be under threat - because of lack of results. Rumors in Barcelona suggested that the 37-year-old Briton would retire from F1 at the end of the year - Martin denied this was the case - but now come stories that he may not be given that luxury as Peugeot is not at all happy with what he has achieved this year.
Jordan hired Martin because the team felt it needed a driver with plenty of experience who knew how to score points. To date, Martin has scored only one and has retired from six races - once because of a mechanical failure and five times because of spins or accidents (not all of his making).
Brundle's situation has not been helped by the fact that he has struggled in qualifying and so has more to do in the races. He has been out qualified at every race by Rubens Barrichello with the biggest margin between them being 1.8s and the smallest 0.3s.
The Canadian Grand Prix will be Martin's 150th Grand Prix start - making him the fourth most experienced British F1 driver after Nigel Mansell, Graham Hill and John Watson - but he has still to win a race.
The rumors we have heard suggest that the most likely replacement for Martin is Jordan-Peugeot test driver Gianni Morbidelli, although another name being mentioned is that of Jos Verstappen. The Dutchman is currently in conflict with TWR F1 over his plans for the future, with team boss Tom Walkinshaw threatening to dump him immediately if he will not sign a long-term contract with the team. Jos is believed to have had an offer to drive for Benetton next year - Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger might be interested to hear that - and so does not want to commit to Walkinshaw this early. If the dispute comes to a head Verstappen might be available for Jordan.
There have been rumors that Eddie Jordan would like to sign up Heinz-Harald Frentzen for the 1997 season. This is quite likely as Frentzen has little chance of a Williams drive and HH is frustrated with the Sauber-Ford. Frentzen, it should be remembered, drove for Jordan in F3000 in 1990.
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