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...as does Jordan

EDDIE JORDAN hopes that his 1998 will finally give the Silverstone-based team its first victory in Formula 1 racing, but Jordan was cautious when he launched the new Jordan-Mugen Honda 198 during a superb event at London's Royal╩Albert╩Hall. "Last year I decided not to try to predict race performances and I am sticking to that policy," Jordan said. "I dare not make any comments about victories. Let's just see what happens."

Immediately after the launch the car was flown to Barcelona where Damon Hill had his first chance to try the car late the following day. "This was one of the best first tests with a new car I have had," Hill reported. "The car has run faultlessly and I am very impressed that the team has done such a great job to put it all together without a glitch." The car had been run briefly before the launch in London, Ralf Schumacher doing a 30-lap shakedown run at Silverstone.

The team's financial package was much as expected with increased support from Mastercard International and some new backing from financial giant Pearl Assurance. The team has reduced the number of its sponsors to give the major players better coverage. The team is expected to name another big sponsor before the start of the season in March and this is likely to be the Spanish fuel company Repsol, although we hear that there are two other companies which want the space on the╩car.

The team confirmed that its test and reserve driver this season will be Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa. The team finished testing at Barcelona on Saturday but is due to be back in Spain for the big test at the Circuit de Catalunya in the first week of February.

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