MAY 19, 2005

Irvine to buy Jordan?

The word in the paddock in Monte Carlo is that the Jordan team could end up being bought by a consortium led by former Jordan driver Eddie Irvine. The 39-year-old Irishman has been out of Formula 1 since he left Jaguar at the end of a lucrative three-year contract in 2002. Since then he has dabbled in real estate in Florida and a number of other investments and has continued to have an F1 profile with plenty of his usual opinions about the sport. He is certainly a character and it is easy to see why the sport might look to him to add some colour in a new generation of managers.

But Irvine has probably learned enough about the sport not to invest his own money and thus one must look to see who would be behind the purchase of the team. We have heard that there is more Russian money available for such a deal and that Irvine's Irish ways would maintain the character of the business which Eddie Jordan established. At the same time there would probably have to be some high-profile Russian involvement, if only to maintain national pride and keep up interest in F1 in a growing market.

Irvine knows how Formula 1 teams run and probably know the right people to do the job, leaving him to front the operation. His links with the team go back to 1990 when he drove for Jordan in Formula 3000. He won one race and finished third in the championship but while Jordan went on to F1, Irvine ended up in Japan and it was not until the end of 1993 that he got a chance when Jordan took him on for the last two races of the season. He stayed with the team in 1994 and the team finished fifth in the Constructors' Championship. At the end of 1995 he was lured away to Ferrari and stayed there as Michael Schumacher's number two until the end of 1999. That year he had his shot at the World Championship after Michael broke his leg but Irvine failed to deliver the goods at the showdown in Japan.