Friday July 27th, 2001
Eddie Jordan has revealed that discussions between him and former Jordan driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen had been ongoing throughout the season and said his dismissal was not a rash decision.
The discussions regarding the German's future in the Jordan team finally came to a head with Frentzen's sacking on Wednesday, and Jordan also said that the dismissal was not down to one individual event.
"We've talked about it a number of times and we talked again after Silverstone," Jordan said today. "There were several things I was unhappy about and we just couldn't agree. Heinz is one of the nicest people that could ever drive a racing car, there is no doubt about that. (But) the future of the team is everything to me.
"I have to think about what will deliver the best results for our sponsors, our drivers and our staff, me included. And I have to be sure I go down the path that is going to give us the best chances of a result."
Jordan said that Frentzen's management were not happy with the performance of the team and added that the only way for the team to go forward was to part company with the talented German driver. He refuted claims of a major bust-up and said that the discussions had taken place in a professional manner.
"It was just a range of things that I needed to do going forward, there was a number of things that he had a difference of opinion on, how things could and would happen in the future and on that basis I made a decision that the best thing for Jordan was to terminate the agreement.
"Both Heinz's management and our management were upset about the performance and what has happened to us at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. I certainly don't think there was a row. There was a discussion. At no stage in two or three years, I have never heard Heinz's voice raised, and I don't believe I have ever raised my voice to him.
"You will never find an easier and nicer person to drive for you and it is very disappointing to lose a good friend in circumstances like this. Hopefully time will mend the wound."
Jordan admitted that he respected Frentzen's decision to seek legal advice on his situation, but he is confident that the decision to let the former Sauber and Williams driver leave will prove to be the right one.
"That's not unusual (a legal appeal by the driver)," he said. "He has to protect himself and I would respect that, and we have to protect ourselves. Let's hope that what has happened rebounds to be the best for Jordan and the best for Heinz. Heinz has, I would hope, a long racing career in front of him, but it's up to him.
"Some people were saying we were too soft at the beginning and too easy going, but we have never changed in terms of our attitude and if things need to be changed, then lets hope that some short term pain will be a long-term gain."
Published at 09:37:10 GMT