Jordan signs Firman

As we anticipated, Jordan has signed 27-year old Briton Ralph Firman Jr. to drive alongside Giancarlo Fisichella in 2003, filling the last available seat in F1 for next year and bringing the number of British drivers in the championship to four (David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Justin Wilson).

Firman won the 1996 British F3 championship driving against the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya and Darren Manning, and is the reigning Formula Nippon champion, racing for the Nakajima team.

Firman holds dual nationality in Briton and Ireland, and it appears that both helped him land the drive. Eddie Jordan kept no secret about the fact that he was looking for the driver that would bring the most money to the team in 2003, and it looks like much of Firman's funding is coming from British Tobacco company Benson & Hedges and Ford Ireland.

Jordan said of his new man, "He may be a rookie in F1 terms but Ralph brings a lot of racing experience and a formidable track record along with his enthusiasm and commitment. I'm impressed with his very cool and disciplined approach and I have a lot of confidence that he and Fisichella will be an awesome partnership on the track. The news that Ralph has joined us, allied to other important developments, means that Jordan Ford is a force to be reckoned with in 2003, and I can't wait for the season to start."

Firman will make his testing debut for the team next week in Valencia.

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