Jordan's line-up may depend on sponsors

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The Independent Online

Jordan, the only team in Formula One yet to name its drivers for the 2004 season, is close to announcing its line-up.

Jos Verstappen and Nick Heidfeld were the latest candidates to be interviewed by the team director, Eddie Jordan.

Jordan is widely reported to be holding out for drivers who can bring substantial sponsorship deals to the cash-strapped team. Verstappen drove for Minardi last season and the Dutchman is reported ready to bring about £10m to the team. Heidfeld, a German, drove last season for the Swiss-based Sauber team and was called "a prime candidate" by Eddie Jordan.

The British drivers Allan McNish and Ralph Firman are also among names being mentioned, particularly if the British-based team opts for a local driver to satisfy its sponsor, Benson & Hedges.Helen Temple, a spokesman for Jordan, said the team needed to name at least a test driver by 20 January, the first day of testing in Barcelona.

"It may not be the same driver that races for us, but it could be," Temple added. "I don't think you could say that any driver was our No 1 choice. Verstappen came in yesterday to have a meeting with Eddie. We're also talking very closely with Nick Heidfeld."

The top four Formula One teams will have unchanged line-ups when the season begins on 7 March in Australia.

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