FEBRUARY 5, 1996
A little disinformation
In recent days motor racing circles in England have been buzzing with rumors which suggest that the new Jordan-Peugeot 196 is so uncompetitive a car that it cannot be made competitive and that, as a result, Peugeot is considering pulling out of F1 to limit the damage to its image which will result this year if the car runs.
The 196 is a development of the Jordan chassis, which the team has been using with good effect since 1991. The Peugeot engine is not greatly changed in basic configuration, and therefore it is hard to see how the car can be worse than the 1995 version.
It is true that initial testing was a little disappointing because of a string of breakdowns and an accident for Martin Brundle, but the dramatic rumors seem to be rather exaggerated. At the end of last week the Jordan test team was at Paul Ricard with Rubens Barrichello running in damp conditions. The Brazilian recorded a best lap of 1m20.59s at the same time that Olivier Panis lapped his new Ligier in 1m21.56s. Pedro Diniz did a 1m27.47s.
So where do the "Peugeot to pull out" stories come from? In all likelihood they have been planted by rival teams who are trying to sabotage the deal Jordan is in the process of concluding with Camel cigarettes...