FEBRUARY 3, 2003
Firman to sign for Jordan today?
All the indications are that Ralph Firman Jr will join David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Justin Wilson to bring the total of British drivers in F1 back up to four. The 27-year-old, who has been exiled in Japan for several years, is expected to sign a contract today.
Firman is believed to be bringing backing from private investors and may also benefit from money from Benson & Hedges and Ford Ireland.
Firman, the son of Van Diemen boss Ralph Firman Sr, won the British Formula 3 title in 1996 driving for the Paul Stewart Racing team beating the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya (although the two were using different engines), Darren Manning and Nicolas Minassian. In 1997 he moved to Japan where he raced in Formula Nippon and the Japanese Touring Car Championship. He joined the Nakajima team in 2001 and won the Formula Nippon title last year. Something of a Honda protege it is possible that Firman, who tested for BAR in December, may have some money for the Jordan drive from Honda, which was previously Jordan's engine supplier but decided to terminate the contract so as to concentrate on BAR.
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