INTERVIEW: Eddie Jordan is an ‘irrepressible character’ who ‘ducked and dived’ to make it in F1
"He rang me one night and I've actually never told this story, but he was in tears on the phone."
There’s no secret that in order to make it in the world of Formula One, you have to be willing to bear the extreme level of stress associated with running a successful team.
The Irish may no longer grace the modern-day grid, but once upon a time, this was a struggle that Irish team owner Eddie Jordan would have known all too well.
The new season is well underway, and the excitement around motorsport in Ireland seems to be reaching heights that haven’t been seen in years.
Martin Brundle gave Straight to the Grid an insight into what went on behind the scenes of the renowned Irish Jordan team back in the day.
As an ex-driver for the Irish outfit, Brundle started off by describing the struggles met early on for the Irish team.
“I drove for Eddie back in 1983 in Formula three, and we had nothing somehow”, he said.
“I mean, if I went to Silverstone to see the car, I’d stop by the Allied Irish Bank in Northampton, and if I’d made 250 quid selling a car that week in commission, I would put it in the bank and somehow by hook or by crook, and with Eddie ducking and diving, we got through the season.”
“We had a very good season actually, and Eddie took that position in 1983 into Formula One for 1991 and then ended up winning a Grand Prix from a standing start, which is unbelievably difficult to do, so I have the utmost respect for Eddie.”
Speaking about his short-lived stint with the Jordan F1 team, Brundle remembered his dramatic crash at the start of the Australian Grand Prix; “The first lap I ever did when I went back to Jordan Grand Prix, I got to turn three and broke the car like an egg, which wasn’t the greatest for my Jordan career.
“And it was actually the beginning of the end of my Formula One career – as a driver.”
Recalling his memories of Eddie, Martin said; “He’s an irrepressible character.
“He rang me one night and I’ve actually never told this story, but he was in tears on the phone.
“He was under so much pressure financially and had the Yamaha engine at the time and asked me to go back and help him out a little bit.”
The Jordan team had struck a deal that would see them race the V12 Yamaha OX99 engine for 1992 in place of the customer HB Cosworth engines it had in 1991.
However, after making the change, the Japanese motor turned out to be a disaster for the Irish team, resulting in a very difficult 1992 season, where they scored just one point.
Brundle went on to say, the call that night was “a court of great desperation, and he was literally in tears on the other end of the phone.
“That’s the kind of pressure that he went through to end up winning the Grand Prix with Mr. Damon Hill.”
Speaking of Damon Hill, you can read what he has to say about his time with Jordan Grand Prix next week on Straight to the Grid.