Features - Interview

JULY 1, 1991

Gary Anderson - Eddie Jordan's other half


Eddie Jordan is the darling of Formula 1. He knows it - and loves it - but behind the persuasive Irishman is a rock-steady Ulsterman, Jordan's technical director Gary Anderson.

Eddie Jordan is the darling of Formula 1. He knows it - and loves it - but behind the persuasive Irishman is a rock-steady Ulsterman, Jordan's technical director Gary Anderson.

For those who remember Anderson and Jordan as rivals in the European Formula 3 Championship in the early eighties, their current relationship is a source of amusement to those who knew the pair at the time.

Jordan, the mischevious door-to-door salesman who could sell icebergs to the Eskimos (or at least try), looks back on the good old days and talks of friendship and shared dreams.

Anderson, the gentle giant engineer, adopts a wry grin. He remembers the rivalry as they scrapped over drivers, sponsors and tyres: they were always fighting over something.

'It hasn't changed much,' smiles Anderson. 'In those days, if I had someone with money Eddie was trying to steal him - and vice versa, but you still had a feeling that at least we were trying. I think that's where the friendliness came from because we were out there having a go at it.'

Those fights - though once bitter - produced a mutual respect. When, in 1989, Jordan approached Anderson to be the technical brains of his F1 team, Gary accepted. The budget was small, but the result was spectacular: Team 7Up Jordan finished fifth in the constructors' world championship - a remarkable achievement for a new team. Looking back on the first season Anderson, ever the realist, was not particularly satisfied - from a technical point of view.

'We started from scratch last year,' he says, 'and, though by all accounts, we did well in our first season, I don't think we ever realised the true potential from the 191.'

Others thought differently, and the Jordan-Ford 191 was lauded - winning such accolades at the AUTOSPORT Racing Car of the Year Award. For a car which was designed by a staff of three, it had been remarkable.

Anderson went to the AUTOSPORT Awards with no idea that he was even in the running and admits that when the decision was announced, he was taken completely by surprise.

'You know,' he says, 'I had no idea what I said when I collected the prize. I don't even remember going up to the stage!'

Five weeks later Jordan and Anderson have unveiled their 1992 challenger. The Ford HB engines have gone, replaced by the promising Yamaha V12.

'The new car is an evolutionary step from last year's car,' says Anderson, 'optimising the design of the 191 in both aerodynamic and mechancal areas, but basically its a brand new car.

'The extra knowledge we now have after a seaon of competition has enabled us to produce a more efficeint aerodynamic package and to optimise the suspension geometries. The package we had last year confined us to a specific set-up, so in the design of the new car we have aimed to make a wider aerodynamic range available. As a result we expect the 192 will be less sensitive to set-up.

'In addition we have amended the ergonomics to make the car more driver-friendly, with a more comfortable seating position and easier access to the controls. It stands to reason that the nicer and less physically-demanding it is to actually drive the car, the more effort the guy can put in racing.

'We have obviously had to make small detail differences to accomodate the new Yamaha engine and, as the rpm is a lot higher with the V12 than with the V8 we used last year, it also requires a larger fuel capacity. However although the Yamaha is 104mm longer than the engine we used last year, we have managed to accomodate the modifications with only a 25mm extension to the wheelbase.'

This year things have been made easier because Anderson has doubled the design staff.

'We've now got six people,' says Anderson. 'We started in July and did the work completely on the CAD system. That made it a lot easier. Mark Smith and Andrew Green, the original design staff have their own areas: Mark looks after the transmission side and Andrew the suspension. Last year I did all the composite lay-ups and such things but no we've got a new guy who has taken that over. In the same way, last year, I drew all the bodywork on the car. This year it was 50% and I've had a lot of help from Paul White. I do not have time to do it myself nowadays.

'It's a bit annoying really because I like doing that bit, but as you get a little bit bigger you seem to be less and less productive. My desk is piled up with bits of paper and I don't want to know. Once a week I file them in the bin. That's a difficult situation because you get bigger but, in reality, you get smaller because of it. It gets a little more departmentalised and there's a manager for each department and suddenly the route to get things done isn't quite so simple. In the end it will be a lot better, but we have to be very careful about that.

'Still, the six of us work very well together and the design process of the 192 wasn't too bad really. Obviously finishing off last season and going racing takes up time but, in reality, we tried to allocate the time to do the job properly and, as the car isn't really a major concept change, it wasn't too difficult. The car was planned to run as soon after Christmas as possible. The first date was January 14 but we all knew that it was a bit ambitious. I am quite pleased it is running now.'

Although the team has now moved into a brand new factory, the team still relies heavily on outside suppliers.

'Probably 90% of the construction work on the 192 has been undertaken by outside contractors,' says Anderson. 'There are a number of machine shops locally with whom we have built a good relationship, enabling us to meet all our time and quality requirements whilst maintaining a smaller, more efficient, factory-based workforce. Obviously all items go through stringent quality tests when they arrive, and in time we will bring certain aspects in-house for greater contrl. But that is for the future.'

Just before Christmas the team suffered a serious loss when its general manager Bosco Quinn was killed in a road accident.

'Bosco is a major loss,' says Anderson, 'but, you know, it's one of those things which gives you more will to fight for what he wanted. The amount of work he did was probably equivalent to at least two people. He was a seven day a week, seven in the morning to ten o'clock at night man. He lived for what he was doing. It's so sad it happened. I keep waiting him to walk in the door, come back from holiday or something. As general manager Bosco really had of the manufacturing side under his control. He could see anyone at any level and had no inhibition about speaking to people, telling them what he thought.

'Management-wise we have to fill that gap. The big problem is that we haven't realised where that gap is yet. We need to take time to find it and fit the right person in. From the beginning that is one thing that Eddie has tried to do - put the right person in the right job. There are a lot of people around you could just slot in but they wouldn't know what Bosco was up to. That will take a bit of time to fill.'

Despite the obvious sadness at Jordan, there is clearly great pride in the new car.

'We managed to bring the car under the weight limit,' says Anderson. 'We had to shuffle things around a bit here and there. The main thing was to get the weight distribution right. The fuel tanks is a bit shorter, the engine is a bit further forward, the gearbox is shorter. We were very pleased when it came in with 0.1% of what last year's car was. That was good.'

The car is also right down to the weight limit.

'The engine in the car at the moment is last year's spec,' says Anderson. 'The engine which we should use this year is 6-7 kilos lighter. The car weighed in at 7 kilos under the weight limit, so we have between 10-15 to play with. You always want the car to be over a little bit.'

The weight saved will be useful when the team begins to experiment with its planned semi-automatic gearbox. The gearbox in the 192 is a new seven-speed design, but can be fitted with an electronic change in the future.

'The seven-speed 'box gives us the opportunity to exploit the Yamaha power band,' says Anderson' and now that the cars are going a lot faster at circuits like Hockenheim and Monza, there is a need to have available a semi-overdrive gear.

'The gearbox has a drum type change, which is mechanically operated. It seems quite good. When we ran the car for the first our standard gearchange on Yamaha logging equipment was 0.23 of a second, on this car it was 0.11sec. That seems quite a good step forward. We are looking at an electronic gearchnage but really it depends on how much money Eddie has got in the bank.

'That is the thing which will limit it for us. There is no point in running off down one route and getting one thing working perfectly and leaving the rest hanging. We're not big enough, and don't have a big enough budget, to get on with it. The electronic gearchange I see as a mid-year thing.

'At the moment we do not have the time, money or manpower for an active suspension programme.'

What about finance? Jordan is constantly beavering away to raise cash. Do he and Anderson have many battles over what is needed?

'Eddie is pretty good on that front,' he smiles. 'Realistically, I try to be fairly conservative on the momey. I don't tend to get out of control. He never bothers me because, at the end of the day, I think we are doing the minimum spending that we could get away with. If I was going to do an active project I would have to go to Eddie and say: "I need this and you are not going to see the benefits for maybe two years." We hve to see if he's got the money or not. At the moment he knows that we will look after the money as best we can.'

But finance does reduce testing?

'If you're looking at doing constructive testing and going off somewhere hot - Australia or America - where there are the temperatures you are going to race at, then it would be restricting. We go and do some laps around Silverstone. It's not very meaningful because the car changes a hell of a lot with the temperature up 30 degrees, so you have to keep that in mind and make sure you don't set all your assumptions on freezing cold conditions at Silverstone.'

Despite the need for more money, F1's newest team is still optimistic that it can continue to perform with the same gusto as last uear. Does Anderson think the car can win races?

'Winning is difficult,' he says. 'Winning because other people have problems could happen to anybody, but I never class that as doing well. Last year in Montreal we came fourth or fifth or something like that, but only because other people fell out. If we won a race and Senna and Mansell were second and third I would class that as winning, but if you win with people behind you who have never won a race, well what's the point?

'We have stepped forward. So long as we are clever enough to exploit it then I think it could be quite good, but winning against McLaren Williams, Ferrari and Benetton is bloody difficult. I would be very happy if we could finish in the same position in the championship as we did last year. That would make me very happy.

In the meantime Gary and his engineers will be pondering what could be with a little more money and more time to expand the team.