Jordan plays down Shnaider takeover speculation

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The Independent Online

Eddie Jordan denied yesterday that he is selling his Formula One team to Alex Shnaider, but did not rule out a future partnership with the Russian businessman.

Eddie Jordan denied yesterday that he is selling his Formula One team to Alex Shnaider, but did not rule out a future partnership with the Russian businessman.

Shnaider announced his intention last July to race his Midland Formula One operation in 2006, but in order to do this he must lodge a goodwill bond of $48m (£26m) with the FIA, the sport's governing body, and then be prepared to race initially without any of the travel benefits enjoyed by his rivals. Just as Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of Red Bull, did with Jaguar Racing, it makes a lot of commercial sense for Shnaider to save money by buying an existing team rather than starting from scratch. That way he could take over all of Jordan's commercial rights too.

Jordan admitted in 2004 he was spending up to £1m of his own money each month just to pay the wage bill as his team suffered loss of sponsorship income. They have been on a downward slope since 1999 when they won two races, and their last success came through a combination of freak weather conditions and crashes in Brazil in 2003.

However, Jordan said yesterday: "I have spoken to a lot of people, some even acting for governments. Basically, I met Alex Shnaider with Bernie [Ecclestone] in December, and I have met them both again since. Bernie naturally wants strong teams in F1, and it would be a huge benefit for Alex to buy Jordan and forgo all the huge start-up costs. Equally, it would be a huge benefit for Jordan because it would make it easier to be competitive again.

"On a personal level I would like to spend more time with the sponsors and the drivers and less on the corporate issues, and if I could find somebody who would facilitate that I would welcome that sort of partnership. Jordan would be stronger with someone like Alex aboard, and I liked him, so if something along those lines were to transpire, that would be fine.

"I believe he would gain something from an involvement with Jordan. But nothing has happened yet, and it may not even happen at all, so we are carrying on with our own plans for the forthcoming season and we will wait to see what happens."

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