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DNA

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Yet with the paint barely dry on the Spyker sign at the Silverstone factory, word got out that the team was again for sale - indication, perhaps, that the investment value of a Formula 1 team (whose numbers were tightly restricted by the financial agreements governing the sport) outweighed the emotional attachment to the sport on the part of the new ownership.

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									074_RA1109   9/3/09      9:37 AM




                     DNA
      Words Andrew Crask Photos LAT Photographic
                                                                     F1 independents blow with economic winds just like the
                                                                     manufacturers, but the emotional stakes are more profound


               orce India emerged as a top Formula 1   availability of competitive, if not quite front-running engines was

       F       contender for the first time at the
               Belgian Grand Prix, where Giancarlo
      Fisichella put the team’s car on pole and
                                                       less cost prohibitive. Running customer Ford Cosworth engines in
                                                       its gorgeous Gary Anderson-designed chassis, Jordan enjoyed a solid
                                                       debut season, finishing sixth in the constructors’ title race. Like
      finished a close second in the race. The         Force India, it’s great breakthrough came at Spa, where the team
      team’s breakthrough was a pleasing               gave a little-known German sports car and F3 racer by the name of
      counter to the domination of the sport by        Michael Schumacher his F1 debut, and he responded by qualifying
      mega-teams fielded by automotive                 seventh. Unfortunately, Schumacher’s Jordan lost its clutch on the
      manufacturers – a fact seen as cause for         opening lap, but journeyman teammate Andrea de Cesaris also ran
      concern by the likes of Max Mosley. The          up front before dropping out with engine woes. It was again at Spa,
      decisions this year by the corporate boards      three years later, that the team took its first pole position with
      of Honda and BMW to withdraw from the            Rubens Barrichello.
      sport support the FIA president’s contention         Although instability in engine suppliers kept Jordan see-sawing
      that over-reliance on manufacturers for          up and down the F1 pecking order, by the late 1990s the team had
      entrants can be problematic, but the             reached championship-contending level with several race-winning
      patchwork history of the team now known          drivers (Damon Hill, Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen).
      as Force India shows that privateers can         With the turn of the century, though, the team was again sliding
      have their own stability issues.                 into uncompetitiveness and Eddie Jordan became convinced that
          Although Force India’s record begins in      the growing power of manufacturers in the sport meant that he
      2007, when Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya       could no longer successfully field a team in the independent style
      first realized his dream of creating a grand     that was its trademark. So, he sold Jordan Grand Prix in 2005 to a
      prix team with connections to his native         consortium of Russian businessmen, who renamed it Midland F1.
      country, the team’s roots actually date back     They, too, quickly found F1 more trouble than it was worth, however,
      to 1991 and the founding of Jordan Grand         and sold out to Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker just a year
      Prix. Ireland’s Eddie Jordan was a Formula 3     later. Yet with the paint barely dry on the Spyker sign at the
      and F3000 team entrant who, like Mallya,         Silverstone factory, word got out that the team was again for sale –
      had long coveted an F1 program of his own,       indication, perhaps, that the investment value of a Formula 1 team
      and the grand prix circus of the time was        (whose numbers were tightly restricted by the financial agreements
      more open to new entrants. In 1991, 18 teams     governing the sport) outweighed the emotional attachment to the
      took part in F1 races (although only three,  
								
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