Jordan join forces with Midland F1 to save team

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The Independent Online

One era of Formula One has signalled its end and another its birth with Eddie Jordan's agreement for Midland F1 to take over his team in 2006.

One era of Formula One has signalled its end and another its birth with Eddie Jordan's agreement for Midland F1 to take over his team in 2006.

By linking up with the 36-year-old Alex Shnaider, who has extensive business interests across Russia, and his nascent Midland F1 operation, Jordan has saved his team and created an environment in which it can flourish. But the price is that he will step down from overall management and take a more commercial role with sponsors this year before Midland take over full-time in 2006.

Jordan entered Formula One in 1991, and a combination of an excellent chassis designed by his long-time friend Gary Anderson, the "Irishness" of the operation, his own colourful character and a little help from one Michael Schumacher, quickly established the team.

In 1998 Damon Hill scored the team's first win in the Belgian Grand Prix, and, typifying Jordan's style, Ralf Schumacher made that first success a 1-2. But 1999 was their last strong season, Heinz-Harald Frentzen scoring two wins as they finished third in the championship.

Giancarlo Fisichella won the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix but it was a lucky victory and last year Jordan headed steadily for the rocks as rumours of imminent bankruptcy grew.

"I have devoted 35 years to motor racing and have had some really fantastic times," Jordan said. "The last 14 years when I have been lucky enough to be involved in Formula One have been a highlight, naturally, and winning our first Grand Prix in 1998, which broke the grip that the top teams of the time had on the sport, is for me a personal triumph. I have to thank Bernie Ecclestone for making the introduction to Alex."

"I am very pleased with this development as it will give us a season of learning, and after the takeover has been completed, the chance to be competitive and faster at the pinnacle of motorsport," Shnaider said. "Our plan to build up a team from scratch has only been altered insignificantly as the establishment of the Midland F1 team will continue according to schedule."

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