Mansell keeps his options open

Nigel Mansell has denied that he has now retired from Formula One for good after turning down the chance to drive for Jordan-Peugeot next season.

There appeared to be no way back for Britain's 1992 world champion following his decision to reject Eddie Jordan's approach. But the 43-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday: "I haven't retired. Other opportunities are possibly out there. I am a very patient person, a little bit older now and more mature, and I'm just going to wait and see what is round the corner.

"You never know what is round the corner. I've learnt that lesson over the last number of years. You can never ever predict the future."

Mansell was just 0.3sec off the pace set by Ralf Schumacher in testing last week, despite being out of a grand prix car for 19 months following his embarrassing comeback with McLaren. However, despite being excited by the prospect of competing again and a probable pounds 5m fee, Mansell turned down the chance of returning as the sport's oldest driver.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my test in Barcelona and the professionalism and atmosphere of the Jordan team was as good as any I have ever worked with," Mansell said. "Eddie Jordan has created something very special. Having seen their facility, and the 1997 car, I honestly believe that the team can become serious contenders.

"The idea of the test was originally to have some fun, but my natural competitive instincts took over very quickly and a return to Formula One with Jordan Grand Prix became a serious possibility. However, I quickly came to realise that my schedule would not permit me to give sufficient time to the Jordan team and their sponsors."

Mansell will now concentrate on his golf complex in Devon, where he has reduced his handicap from five to one in a year.

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