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  Friday, 3 May, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Jordan set to lose Honda deal
Team owner Eddie Jordan
Jordan has complained about F1 being too expensive
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By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport Online motorsport editor

The Jordan Formula One team look certain to lose their supply of free works Honda engines at the end of this season.

The Japanese engine manufacturer has indicated to Jordan that if the team wants its engine in 2003, they will have to pay for it, BBC Sport Online has learned.

That is despite Jordan having a contract with Honda that does not run out until the end of next year.

Honda is expected to concentrate its efforts on British American Racing, who also use the engine.

Giancarlo Fisichella in the Jordan-Honda EJ12
The new Jordan-Honda has not been competitive in 2002

The company extended its deal with BAR last December until the end of 2004.

Senior Jordan insiders admit privately that they are expecting to lose the engine.

But team owner Eddie Jordan said at the Spanish Grand Prix that he had no knowledge of Honda's desire to end Jordan's supply of free engines.

"Everyone tells me they want to do a runner. If they feel they want to do that, I don't know that," he said.

Honda's decision on Jordan is not unexpected - there has been speculation for some weeks that Honda does not want to continue with Jordan.

But the company's plans are a blow to Jordan - a works engine deal is seen as a prerequisite for success in modern-day F1.

Spiralling costs

That has been harder to come by for Jordan and BAR because Honda has struggled to make its engine competitive since it re-entered F1 in 2000.

But losing free engines will significantly affect Jordan's budget at a time when team boss Eddie Jordan is complaining that costs in F1 are getting out of hand.

Jordan is the leading voice in a campaign to get F1's governing body, the FIA, to act to cut what he claims are the spiralling costs of Grand Prix racing.

He laid off 15% of his staff staff last month in an attempt to cut his team's costs and streamline its operations.

Limited options

Jordan, who are struggling this year with an uncompetitive car, could continue using Honda engines in 2003, but only if he pays what Honda feels is a fair market rate.

That is likely to be well over 10m - Sauber pay a reputed 15m for their Ferrari customer engines and Arrows' Ford Cosworths are said to cost 13m.

At that price, Jordan is considered likely to look for alternatives because the team have been unhappy with the engine's performance.

However, there are not many options available.

Decision telegraphed

Ferrari are not likely to want to supply a second team, which leaves only Cosworth or Asiatech, which supplies Minardi.

An Asiatech link could be good in another way for Jordan.

There is speculation that Eddie Jordan might want to sell up in the near future, and Asiatech, an Asian technology company, has said it is interested in setting up its own F1 team.

Takeo Fukui, president of Honda's research and development department, signalled his company's possible change of plan earlier this month.

"We signed a three-year contract with Jordan last year. But we have to look into reconsidering this agreement," he said.

See also:

26 Apr 02 |  Formula One
Jordan's warning for F1
24 Apr 02 |  BBC Pundits
Jordan gamble could backfire
23 Apr 02 |  Formula One
Jordan make major cuts
26 Mar 02 |  Formula One
Jordan backs F1 shake-up
25 Feb 02 |  Formula One
Jordan admit to power deficit
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