The Jordan pressure cooker

NOVEMBER 9, 2001

The Jordan pressure cooker

THE return of Gary Anderson to Jordan Grand Prix is an interesting move for both men. But it likely to cause some trouble. Anderson and Jordan are friends going back to the early 1980s when they ran rival teams in the European Formula 3 Championship. When Jordan decided to set up a Formula 1 operation he hired Gary to be his technical chief and Anderson did an excellent job with very little money.

The relationship continued to flourish until 1996 when Jordan put in a friend named John Putt to look at the company's management structures. Putt concluded that there needed to be changes and Trevor Foster was appointed joint managing-director and Anderson's role was changed considerably.

In the early part of 1998 the team recruited Mike Gascoyne from Tyrrell and it was clear that his role would be to take over from Anderson as technical director. Anderson left the team that autumn and went to work for Stewart Grand Prix, where he encountered Egbahl Hamidy for the first time. That relationship lasted only weeks before Hamidy walked out.

The news that Jordan, Anderson, Foster, Putt and Hamidy are all trying to work under the same roof is an interesting one. Hamidy has yet to produce a car for the team but there have been whispers in recent weeks that while he may be a talented aerodynamicist, he is not very suited to the role in which he now finds himself. This might explain why Anderson has reappeared. The implication must be that Hamidy will be on his way again. Putt and Foster have also had a less than easy relationship and the reappearance of Anderson may open old wounds.

Eddie Jordan remains the man with the power and his faith in Putt appears to be undimmed. And from what we hear it was his personal wish that Anderson should return.

There is some logic in this. Anderson was a very accomplished designer, engineer and strategist. His major problem at Jordan and Stewart was that he was always trying to do too much and so was not really fitting in the role of technical director. Having taken a year away from F1, Anderson says he is not really interested in being a technical director any longer. He has made a lot of money and does not really need to work. His enthusiasm comes from racing and from solving engineering problems - which he is very good at. He is also a man who has never had huge sums of money to work with and so he is a good choice for the team with a recession coming.

Anderson is also a great motivator if the people get behind him. Most of the engineers who worked for Anderson at Jordan have long gone but there are still some very experienced people at Jordan, not least designer Tim Holloway and race engineer David Brown.

We would expect that there will be some fall out from the appointment as it is hard to believe that the current mix of personalities will work...

Other stories for NOVEMBER 9, 2001