Honda website
Honda website

JULY 31, 2002

Will Ford return with Jordan?

There is speculation on the Autosport website that the Ford Motor Company is planning to return to Formula 1 in 2003 with Ford-branded engines for the Jordan team. This would put the Ford name in direct competition with its subsidiary brand Jaguar.

On the face of it such a plan makes little sense. But Jaguar Racing is not performing and in the past Ford policy has been to throw teams up against one another in an effort to improve performance. This was done most successfully in 1993 when the lacklustre Benetton-Ford operation was put up against a McLaren team using Ford engines. Benetton was humiliated but in 1994 came back and won the World Championship, admittedly in controversial circumstances.

It is no secret that when it became clear that Jordan had lost its free supply of Honda engines, Eddie Jordan went to the Ford Motor Company and offered the Detroit giant a very attractive deal. A similar deal is believed to have been suggested to Ford by Tom Walkinshaw of Arrows.

Such a move makes sense as in recent months Red Bull has been trying to do a deal with a major US car manufacturer to establish Red Bull Team USA. The original aim was for the Arrows team to fulfill that role but this was blocked by Morgan Grenfell and so it is possible that Red Bull has now decided to look at Jordan. Such a deal would also link Ford to the new planned Red Bull F1 Driver Search which is currently going on.

The big question is whether or not Eddie Jordan would remain in charge of the team or whether there might be a complete takeover of the team by Red Bull itself - and if that happened who might be put in charge.

The fact that Autosport has chosen to run such a risky story suggests that it has been planted by someone who wants the information (or the rumour) to be made public and has the credibility to be believed.