Fisichella to replace Trulli at Jordan

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA will replace his compatriot Jarno Trulli in the Jordan-Honda team next season in a three year deal designed to provide the British team with the continuity it believes it requires to improve its competitiveness and establish itself as a possible winning force.

The 28 year old Italian who currently drives for the Benetton-Renault squad decided to make a long-term commitment and return to Jordan for whom he first drove in 1997 during his second year in formula one.

Team principal Eddie Jordan commented; "Planning for the long-term future is vital and stability and continuity are key to success. I am overjoyed that Giancarlo has signed a three year contract with us, as this gives Jordan and Honda a strong platform to build on."

Jordan team sources hint that Trulli was extremely disappointed not to have retained his place at Jordan for a third successive season. However the intricacies of his contract with Benetton team principal Flavio Briatore's management company meant that he was only able to offer himself to the British team for another single year.

Commented a source close to the Jordan team; "In twelve months time we would have been in precisely the same position, but with the prospect of him leaving knowing even more about Honda's engine technology. The Fisichella deal was clearly the best way to go."

Fisichella has a reputation as a stylish and very smooth driver, but opinions in the paddock are divided as to whether he has the ruthless and determined edge which marks out the great drivers from the simply very good.

During his first season with Jordan, when their cars were powered by Peugeot V10 engines, he finished second in Belgium and third in Canada, looking every inch a match for his young team-mate Ralf Schumacher.

Next season Fisichella will probably be partnered at Jordan by the 37-year old Jean Alesi who switched from the Prost team prior to last Sunday's Hungarian grand prix. Jordan will make a decision on his long-term future after next month's Italian grand prix at Monza.

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