DECEMBER 19, 2003
Who will drive for Eddie Jordan in 2004?
There have been stories saying that a deal is with done between Jordan Grand Prix and Nick Heidfeld but it is clear that whatever that arrangement is, there is still a question of money being needed and with Jos Verstappen's sponsor Trust now saying that the Dutchman will not be with Minardi. This means that Verstappen's future in F1 - if he has one - is with Jordan. The problem for Verstappen is that if Heidfeld comes up with the money Jos will be out of work as the second Jordan drive will go to a British driver because Benson & Hedges is willing to kick in extra money if there is a British driver behind the wheel. This is believed to be worth an extra $6m to Jordan and so Ralph Firman is still in the picture; Justin Wilson must also be seen as a candidate and Allan McNish should not be forgotten and has been busy in recent weeks trying to gather support for his candidature. McNish was spotted in the company of Ford Europe's motorsport chief Jost Capito last weekend and Capito does have some influence in the deal as arrangements can be made by Ford to help Jordan if he is willing to accept a Ford nominee. Thus if McNish can get concessions out of Ford and the extra money from Benson & Hedges he then becomes a more interesting than Firman. In addition McNish has considerable development skills which would help the team with the work in F1, given the tight deadlines that now exist.
Thus it is quite possible that we will see a driver line-up of Verstappen and McNish in 2004 as opposed to Heidfeld and Firman.
The latest signs are that Zsolt Baumgartner is the favorite to join Minardi although there are believed to be others who are still in the picture.
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