Apparently a lot happened while I was away, and despite pre-publishing a few little posts, it seems as though the big news relating to McLaren (again) dominated the headlines. It is starting to seem as though 2007 will be remembered for all the controversy, inter-team battles and illegal movements of paperwork, wings and floors. But to gently get me back into the swing of things, I’ll just pretend the last two weeks didn’t happen until something next occurs in the saga that deserves a write up. For now at least, let’s talk about Mid-Jorker.
Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, there was a humble little Silverstone-based operation called Jordan. They were a team led by a canny Irishman who after competing himself, decided he would do better on the other side of the desk. Jordan were developed from lower formulae and they enjoyed some success in Formula One. Scoring points in their maiden season, debuting some drivers who went on to great and immeasurable success, and even acquiring the services of some who were once great themselves. They won a handful of races and even came tantalisingly close to challenging for a title one year.
But finance, as it always does in F1, got in the way, and eventually the smooth-talking facial-haired guru decided to sell. Wanting to ensure that the team continued, Eddie Jordan signed his business away to Midland, a large company who undoubtedly promised to invest lots of money and continue the progression of Jordan’s work. However, it wasn’t long before the cracks started to appear. Midland lacked passion and experience at running a competitive Formula One operation and eventually they too started to look around for a company to offload their burden onto.
Part-way through 2006, Dutch company Spyker stepped up to the plate and put in a serious bid. Spyker have been making road cars for a long time, but few have actually heard of them. Producing sports cars in low volumes and selling at prices only the Formula One drivers could afford, Spyker were clearly looking for a way to get their brand ‘out there’ a little more. The company itself was going through a bit of an upheavel and the F1 dream seemed like a great way to publicise their efforts off the track.
For the last few races of 2006, Midland raced under a new name and new colours. They obviously continued with the 2006 car that had been developed from the Jordan and spoke of big things for the little outfit. New sponsors were rafted in, money was pledged and new drivers were signed on as testers. 2007 has unfortunately proved to be just as fruitless as 2006 though, and still languishing at the bottom of the timing sheets the future doesn’t look too rosy for the Dutch squad. The only semi-experienced driver in their stable was fired because a sponsor hadn’t paid up, despite the sponsor claiming they weren’t supposed to be on the car for this season. Silly errors from their drivers and the odd clash between themselves leaves Spyker in a bit of a dire situation.
So you can imagine what is going through the owner’s minds. Sell, sell, sell. Alas, it seems as though it isn’t. At least that is what they are saying anyway. A statement issued today from the team suggests that they intend to only sell part of the team in order to raise some funds, and despite initial claims, the orange cars will continue for the remainder of the year.
Spyker F1 Team Ltd is completely confident that it has the necessary budget to race in the FIA Formula One World Championship this season. There is no doubt that we will be racing with our current driver line-up of Adrian Sutil and Sakon Yamamoto in the Turkish Grand Prix and beyond. Colin Kolles.
The recent press statement issued by Spyker Cars N.V should not be taken as an indication that the team is in jeopardy of immediate closure. As part of its own strategic review and refinancing strategy Spyker Cars N.V is considering the (partial) sale of the Spyker Formula One Team. This is however but one possibility. Spyker Press Statement.
With the upheavel of the team since selling, I wonder if Eddie regrets his decision to move on. Jordan still attends the odd Grand Prix and over the previous off-season he even took part in a television series related to motor racing. But having seen Midland fail and now Spyker’s mumourings of troubled water, one has to mull over the posibility of another change.
I think it is fair to say that Jordan were missed by a lot of fans. The brand Eddie created out of his humble factory reached out to F1 fans around the world, and their successes were enjoyed by most members of the Paddock. Midland however appeared to disappear without trace, and while most of the personnel remained, the period in between Jordan and Spyker is only really evident through the results records. Will Spyker go the same way should the team be sold?
I’m don’t think I will miss Spyker as I don’t see what they add to the spectacle. I do support the underdogs, and still proudly wear my Minardi t-shirt sometimes. As odd as it sounds, that shirt reminds me to persevere and be determined – something Minardi did for so many years, occasionally picking up the odd point on the way. But Minardi had passion. They tirelessly worked away at the formula for so many years, only yielding results that aside from Mark Webber’s debut Grand Prix, are also resigned to the almanacs rather than the minds of the fans. Spyker, despite appearing to be more into it than Midland, they do lack the certain something that makes them memorable. The thing that makes them stand out as real underdogs battling against the giants of the sport.
I guess the questions I want to ask are thus:
If Spyker were sold or disbanded tomorrow, and you asked a new F1 fan if they had heard of Jordan, would they say yes? And would they give as positive an answer if you asked them if they have heard of Midland, or Spyker?
Would you miss the orange team? Or the yellow team, or the red and black team, whatever colour you associate with the squad…
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