Force India’s F1 roots can be traced back to an adventure that began 25 years ago
writer Peter Higham
It is 25 years since Jordan Grand Prix made its Formula 1 debut in the 1991 United States GP on the streets of Phoenix. It was soon obvious that Eddie Jordan’s precocious newcomers – with distinctive 7Up livery – were a serious force. Andrea de Cesaris and Bertrand Gachot finished fourth and fifth in Canada and the Italian challenged for the lead in Belgium – a race also notable for Michael Schumacher’s F1 debut with the team.
Fifth in the championship for constructors at its first attempt, Jordan switched to Yamaha and then Hart engines but struggled to maintain that form. It was 1994 before Rubens Barrichello delivered Jordan’s first podium (Pacific GP) and pole (Belgium).
Giancarlo Fisichella was second at Spa in 1997 and it was there a year later that Jordan finally scored its breakthrough win, Damon Hill heading a popular 1-2. Better still was to come during 1999, when Heinz-Harald Frentzen won the French and Italian GPs en route to third in the championship.
Its final F1 success – Brazil 2003 – was riddled with confusion. McLaren’s Kimi Räikkönen was initially awarded victory in a red-flagged race, but a review of the data showed that Fisichella’s Jordan, on fire in the pits at the time the event was stopped, had been leading on the crucial countback lap. The Italian received his trophy two weeks later, at Imola.
The team was by now in decline and Jordan sold out to Canadian industrialist Alex Shnaider. It was rebranded as Midland from 2006 before being sold on to Spyker and Force India.