Schumacher sorry not to partner Hill

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The Independent Online
Jordan-Peugeot's new acquisition, Ralf Schumacher, said yesterday that he is disappointed he will not be learning about Formula One next season from his older brother's rival, Damon Hill.

Hill, who is one point away from clinching this year's World Championship, was widely tipped to be going to Jordan after Williams dropped him from their 1997 line-up, but the Briton surprised everyone last week by announcing he was joining the rejuvenated Arrows team.

"I'm really disappointed about his decision, but I guess it's about money," said Schumacher, the 21-year-old brother of the current world champion, Michael Schumacher. "Maybe he doesn't like Schumachers, I don't know," he said during a break from his first proper testing session for Jordan at the Estoril circuit.

Jordan has still to announce Schumacher's 1997 team-mate and the German said he would like to see British veteran and current Jordan driver Martin Brundle stay on because of his experience with the Silverstone-based team.

Schumacher said that so far, Michael - who also started his Formula One career with Jordan - had given him plenty of advice, although that might stop next year when they meet on the track.

He claimed his performance on Japan's F3000 circuit, which he currently leads, was more important than the Schumacher name in getting him into Formula One.

"In my first meeting with Formula One, they told me: `You either race fast or you stay at home," he said.

Eddie Jordan, the team owner who attended the tests, said one of his main reasons for hiring Schumacher was the team's past success with young drivers. Michael Schumacher, now at Ferrari, began his meteoric rise at Jordan in 1991 before a controversial mid-season move to Benetton, although the younger Schumacher said he felt he would be happy merely easing into Formula One at Jordan.

"There is not so much pressure," he said. "If you go to Williams, you have to win the championship."

Jordan's present drivers, Rubens Barrichello of Brazil and Brundle, are in eighth and 12th places in the drivers' tables with one race to go in Japan on 13 October. The Jordan team is fifth in the constructors' race.