DECEMBER 20, 2002
Jordan and Red Bull
The deal has been an obvious one for many months: Jordan Grand Prix is a good team without a big sponsor and Red Bull is a big sponsor without a team. But this does not mean that a deal can be struck between the two parties.
Red Bull has been a sponsor for many years in F1 and wants now to get control of a team for the specific reason that it wants to market its products in the United States of America, the world's biggest consumer market. There are several F1 teams that Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz could have purchased in the last couple of years and he has turned his back on all of them. He is waiting for the right opportunity - and that must be one which promotes Red Bull as an American concept. The big question is whether a team based in Britain with Irish antecedents is the way forward. Mateschitz turned down the chance to buy Prost and Arrows and gave up his shareholding in Sauber because it did not suit his ultimate aims.
In order for Jordan to fit the bill for Mateschitz it would almost certainly mean that Eddie Jordan would have to go. In many respects, in the eyes of the public, Jordan is the team and so it is really a question of whether Eddie Jordan would be willing to part with his team and go off and do something else. Eddie has been in a similar situation before when Honda came knocking on the door a few years ago and offered Eddie a very decent price for the team. The deal, as we understand it, was conditional on Eddie no longer being involved in the sport and that in the end was what stopped the deal going ahead. Jordan still wanted to be an F1 team owner. And at the moment Jordan is showing no sign of changing his mind.
But beneath all the Blarney, Jordan is a businessman and will be weighing up the situation. If he believes that the team can find the money it needs to get through the next few years to emerge a stronger force he will stay. He will not want to see the team he has built on the downhill slope down which Prost and Arrows have slipped and he may consider it a wise time to sell up and get out.
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