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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.
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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