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Shnaider denies sell-off rumours

NEWS STORY
21/05/2005

Jordan owner Alex Shnaider has denied that his team is up for sale, but admits that if someone were to make the right offer he'd listen.

At the end of last week, as the teams began arriving in Monaco, the paddock was filled with rumours suggesting that Shnaider wanted to offload his new acquisition, having grown disillusioned with F1, and realised the sort of expenditure needed to be competitive.

Almost as soon as some began suggesting that the team was up for grabs, so others began speculating as to who might be interested in making a bid. Once the smoke had cleared it appeared that former F1 driver Eddie Irvine might be interested, however rather than risk his own money, it was suggested that he would be heading a consortium of wealthy (mostly Russian) backers.

Talking for the first time of the rumours, Shnaider attempts to put the record straight.

"It's not true," he told Reuters. "I don't want to sell the team, absolutely not.

"I was asked theoretically whether it is possible that I would sell the team," he admitted, "and I said that everything is for sale. We buy businesses, we sell businesses, we buy companies and we sell companies.

"At the end of the day we are an investment company so obviously things could be sold if the right amount is being offered. But nobody offered me anything," he continued. "There is nothing going on so I don't know where this is coming from."

The team has been cloaked in mystery since Eddie Jordan sold the outfit in January. Many long-serving employees have left and the future of the Silverstone based outfit - on a technical - level is still uncertain. The team doesn't yet have an engine deal for 2006, which means that Dallara - which is due to build the new car - cannot proceed as it would wish.

That said, Shnaider insists that everything is on target: "Everything is still going on according to plan," he says, "the car is being developed, everything is going forward," he said.

"We got the company (when it was) in a huge mess," he revealed, referring to talk that several suppliers are preparing to take legal action against the team for outstanding bills. "There are all kinds of payables that we had no idea about. There were a lot of suppliers that were trying to take advantage when the management changed.

"Everybody at the end of the day is getting paid but obviously we don't want to pay every bill that is coming our way that we think is out of nowhere. We must investigate where it is coming from, why is it so high. It's only normal.

"We bought the company at the end of January, we walked into the factory and there were four old monococques," he continued. "There were no cars ready, no drivers and no sponsors. There was nothing. We have to quantify what assets we have, what liabilities we have.

"If we start doing things differently it's going to be for the name of Jordan this year," he added, "and the name Jordan is going to disappear in a matter of months. So why spend money for what? We want to keep the costs down for this year. It's very easy to be foolish and spend money.

"For next year we are preparing and we are spending money. For this year I don't see anything that we would put money in that we would get a good return on our investment."

Referring to the subject of whose engine his team - which will become Midland F1 in 2006 - will use, he replied: "We are very happy with the Toyota, we have the option of continuing with them, but also there are offers for other engine suppliers. I think we will announce very shortly who will be our supplier."

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