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Jordan stills wants Fisichella

EDDIE JORDAN says that he is going to keep Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher next season and intends to continue his policy of employing young drivers, which he says is "a key element to the Jordan success story". Jordan says that both drivers are under contract for 1998 and that he believes that the problems over Fisichella's contract will be decided in favor of Jordan within the next few days.

This is bad news for Damon Hill and for Jean Alesi, both of whom are looking for work. Hill had talks with Jordan last year before he signed with Arrows and, with the door now closed at Williams and McLaren, Jordan was the obvious choice for Damon.

Hill is still talking with Prost, Sauber and Benetton but it is becoming increasingly likely that he will stay on with Arrows where he will benefit from being the number one Bridgestone runner and will almost certainly have a more competitive package than has been the case this year.

Although Hill says he is not going to price himself out of the F1 market he is unlikely to be able to command the same level of money as he was able to do this year. Arrows is believed to be offering something in the region of $6m which might explain why Hill has turned down offers from Sauber (a three-year deal worth $20m) and from McLaren ($2m and a $1m bonus for each race win).

Damon signed for Arrows at the end of September last year and it is safe to assume that there is an option with Arrows which runs out at the same time this year. Before he signs, however, Damon will want to be absolutely certain that Walkinshaw's package for next year is one which will be competitive and there has to be a question mark over this as the team has still to announce an engine deal. Rumors suggest that the team will have a new V10 engine next year, designed by Brian Hart - with input from TWR's own engine companies - but badged by a major motor manufacturer. This may be Yamaha but could be one of a number of car companies which want to be become involved in F1 racing.