Motor Racing: Jordan measuring up Brundle for a seat: Derick Allsop reports on the marque pursuing a British driver

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The Independent Online
THE Jordan grand prix team have focused their search for a new driver on Britain's Martin Brundle.

Jordan unveiled their new car, the Hart-powered 194, and introduced their chief personnel at their headquarters, next door to Silverstone circuit, yesterday.

However, plans to announce the partner to their Brazilian driver, Rubens Barrichello, had to be abandoned. 'Finalising that piece of business is taking longer than we'd hoped,' Eddie Jordan, the team's principal, said. 'But it will be a driver to live up to our expectations.'

Jordan stated that Eddie Irvine, from Northern Ireland, was among the candidates, and he had lengthy talks with Mark Blundell, who has since committed himself to Tyrrell-Yamaha.

But it is understood the attention of Jordan is now firmly on 34-year-old Brundle, who has had outstanding back-to-back seasons with Benetton-Ford and Ligier-Renault.

Brundle is currently on holiday and still pondering his options. He is again wanted by Ligier, but the ownership and future of the French team remain uncertain. Even if they are up and running for the start of the new season, on 27 March - possibly under the guardianship of Benetton - they are unlikely to have a new car available until midway through the campaign.

The third choice for Brundle to consider is IndyCars. His former boss at Jaguar and engineering director at Benetton, Tom Walkinshaw, is planning a venture in America and wants the man from King's Lynn to join him.

Jordan's currency appears sound. The names of 16 sponsors were displayed yesterday and Steve Nichols, formerly of McLaren and Ferrari, has joined them as chief designer. Brundle's manager, Mike Greasley, a conspicuous visitor to the factory yesterday, was impressed by everything he saw. Jordan, a former mentor of Brundle, is ebullient about the prospects for the coming season.

He said: 'Never before have we built a car with the potential of this one. The technical team we now have compares with the best in grand prix racing, the engine development is fantastic, and Sasol have come up with a perfectly legal fuel which will give us 12 to 14 more horsepower.'

Barrichello gave the 194 a few laps of the circuit and said: 'It is really nice. The engine is very good, too.'

(Photograph omitted)

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