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Jordan looks back at its 2005 season

NEWS STORY
27/10/2005

The acquisition of Jordan Grand Prix in January by Alex Shnaider, Chairman of the Midland Group, meant that the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship was going to be a transition year for the team before it is renamed Midland in 2006. 2005 has therefore been a particularly challenging final season for the Silverstone-based team. The whole adventure started in Moscow on February 25, when Jordan Grand Prix presented its familiar yellow car with its 2005 driver line- up, Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan, on Red Square, Moscow's oldest and most famous landmark. Just a day after braving snow and temperatures of -10 C, both drivers flew to Melbourne, Australia, for the start of their first ever season in Formula One, comprising many challenges, as they had to learn most of the tracks. Karthikeyan, the first Indian driver ever to participate in the F1 Championship, made a remarkable debut in qualifying 12th on the grid.

Indianapolis was a turning point for the team, where it was able to score 11 precious points and a podium for Monteiro, the first ever for a Portuguese driver in the sport. Although these points were due to the withdrawal from the race of the Michelin-shod teams for safety reasons, the drivers had still the hard task of finishing the race. The summer was fairly quiet for Jordan until the race at the notorious circuit of Spa Francorchamps where, in very difficult weather conditions, both drivers had terrific races and Monteiro scored a point - finishing 8th. Throughout the season, the team had the advantage of running a third car on Fridays and benefited from young and talented drivers such as Robert Doornbos, Franck Montagny, Nicolas Kiesa and Sakon Yamamoto to help gather some crucial information and data.

Unfortunately, there was also a downside to the season. Monaco was a very difficult weekend for the team from both a sporting and media point of view. The car had been slow the whole weekend and rumours were circulating that Alex Shnaider was going to sell the team. The departure of a few key personnel people within the team did not help, and only reinforced the rumours. However, after a few weeks, things calmed down and the rumours proved unfounded. Alex Shnaider had no intention of selling Jordan and, despite the uncertainties, the team emerged stronger and more unified. The lack of testing over the winter and during the year, added to the late introduction of the EJ15B at Monza, also made things difficult for the team. Once introduced, however, the EJ15B proved to be a real improvement.

Thanks to the tremendous support of Toyota and Bridgestone throughout the season, Jordan Grand Prix has been one of the most reliable teams of the Championship with a 84% percentage of race finishes and 97% mechanical reliability. Hopefully, the team will be able to maintain its incredible reliability record, with the continuous collaboration of these partners in 2006.

The Chinese Grand Prix marked the end of an era for the yellow cars and now all the team's efforts are turned towards the 2006 season, which will see the introduction of Midland F1 whose complete new car, the M16, will be run in February.

Alex Shnaider Co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Midland Group: "We knew this was going to be a difficult season as we took over a team in financial disarray and had very little time to prepare for the first race in Australia. Despite these obstacles, we met our objectives of learning and improving as much as possible. The team showed tremendous dedication at each race and did a great job with the resources that were available: The car proved reliable, its development progressed steadily over the course of the season and our drivers showed impressive speed. So even though we expected to struggle during this transition period, our first season can be viewed as an overall success. Now we are looking forward to competing in 2006 under the Midland banner and improving our team even further."

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