Honda F1 website

JUNE 23, 2003

Mud and fur flying

The Jordan-Vodafone case is providing plenty of controversy at the moment with both sides out to win the battle in the court room and outside. A leak of documents to The Sunday Times suggests that Ferrari has tried to "blackmail" Jordan to stop the Vodafone case, refusing to contribute to the F1 "fighting fund" unless Jordan agreed to drop the legal action. This was confirmed by Bernie Ecclestone who said that "What (Jean) Todt said was this: 'Why should I give you money so you can take legal action against my sponsor'."

There were also revelations that Jordan executive Ian Phillips misled the team's current sponsor Benson & Hedges by not revealing that it had agreed a sponsorship with Vodafone. Phillips admitted to the court that he had not told Gallaher, the owner of the Benson & Hedges brand, about the Vodafone deal which, it is claimed was dependent on there being no tobacco sponsorship anywhere on the car. This is odd as the Ferrari-Vodafone deal went ahead despite the presence of Marlboro. This will not help Jordan's case as the main thrust of it appears to depend on a note made by Phillips during a telephone conversation with a Vodafone executive.