JUNE 20, 2003
Jordan and Mercedes Benz
In amongst the fireworks at the FIA Press Conference last Friday in Montreal there was a rather odd exchange when a German reporter with links to Mercedes-Benz began asking Eddie Jordan who had paid for him to lease trucks at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Jordan had said that he would never take charity from another team and the implication in the question was that the journalist had information that this was not the case. This caused Jordan a certain amount of discomfort which resulted in the Irishman replying that "I think we are really losing the plot here" before McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis swept to his rescue with a timely: "let's move on".
The impression given, rightly or wrongly, was that Jordan had been helped out by Mercedes-Benz.
Jordan had gone to the press conference with everyone expecting him to stand beside Minardi boss Paul Stoddart in their fight for the so-called "fighting fund". But Jordan sat squarely (and rather uncomfortably) on the fence. This caused an irate Stoddart to remark that Jordan appeared to be have been "totally nobbled" by the other team owners. After the conference Stoddart went straight to Jordan and there was a quiet exchange of views. What was said remains a mystery but Jordan did not look very comfortable.
The question that emerged from all these high jinks was that if Jordan was convinced to change his views before the conference begun, what was said that would have swayed him? Despite cosmetic remarks that all is well, it has been clear for some time that the team has needed help and according to our sources Jordan also needs an engine for 2004 as Cosworth has decided that it will not be supplying him next year.
The suggestion therefore is that Mercedes-Benz has agreed to supply Jordan with engines next year. Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Norbert Haug has said that he can supply engines to a customer team for a "baseline figure" of $10m. It would not be outrageous to suggest that if that there was appropriate badging on the cars and Mercedes-favoured drivers the price could be reduced considerably.
We anticipate that Jordan will run Mercedes-Benz engines in 2004.
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