APRIL 7, 2004
A curious rumour from Brazil
There is a story circulating in Brazil that Jordan driver Giorgio Pantano might be replaced shortly by Augusto Farfus Jr., who is currently racing for Alfa Romeo in the European Touring Car series. Pantano has not fared well in the first three races of the season despite the fact that he is established as a very talented driver after three successful seasons in Formula 3000. The fact that Pantano has struggled at Jordan is strange given his previous pace and the suggestions we have heard is that the problems may lie with the car. Clearly Pantano needs to test more to get up to speed. The problem for Jordan is that Pantano arrived with $5m in sponsorship and it will not be easy for the team to simply kick him out without having to return the money - assuming that it has been paid.
The other point worth mentioning is that Farfus Jr. did not seem to have the right kind of money last winter when he made enquiries about Formula 1. He signed a contract with Alfa Romeo and the Italian firm will not look kindly on being deserted unless there was a get-out clause in the contract relating to Formula 1, which could be the case. The interesting point in all this is that Satoshi Motoyama was knocking around with around $6m in sponsorship and so if Pantano had to be replaced it is logical that the Japanese driver would be top of the list.
However, at the moment, it seems too early for any change, unless of course things are desperate financially at the team.
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