The arrival of any new Grand Prix team is usually greeted with a mixture of enthusiasm and scepticism, the latter usually the predominant emotion, even if that team arrives with a formidable reputation it has built up from the lower formulae. The newly formed Jordan Grand Prix, though, can perhaps be accorded a little more respect.
Eddie Jordan’s reputation as a successful team owner is well known while he is also regarded as a shrewd operator and talent spotter through his management company, but neither factor will help him a bean on the cutting edge of Grand Prix racing. It is the fact that he has already fallen on his feet with regard to two important parts of the equation, though, that does mean that he should be taken seriously. He has somehow acquired the use of the Ford HB V8 engine, which until now has been exclusively used by Benefton, and his cars will be shod by Goodyear.
The car itself, known as the Jordan 911, has been designed by Gary Anderson who has played safe by following current state-of-the-art design trends, including using the Tyrrell 019 type front end. The end result is a very neat and good looking car.
Although the Jordan Grand Prix premises have yet to be built just outside Silverstone Circuit, most of the carbon-fibre monocoque has been built in-house on the present premises within the circuit.
John Watson gave the inaugural 911 a shakedown test at Silverstone at the end of November, but all future driving will be undertaken by Belgian driver Bertrand Gachot who has just been signed up.
Benefton meanwhile, in an effort to retain that extra edge now that they have lost the exclusive use of the Ford HB V8 engine, have just announced that they will use Pirellis in the forthcoming season.