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Pantano secures Jordan race seat 13 Feb 2004

Giorgio Pantano (ITA) visits the Jordan pit wall gantry at Jerez. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 February 2004.

Jordan confirmed on Friday that Giorgio Pantano will race for the team in the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship. The Italian driver will partner Nick Heidfeld and has been testing with the team at Jerez this week. The announcement ends the long-running speculation over who would fill the new season's last remaining race seat.

Pantano, 25, is a former World Kart Champion and won the 2000 German Formula Three championship in his first season of single-seater racing. He has since gone on to finish second and third respectively in the last two Formula 3000 championships, winning six races with three different teams. He has previously tested for McLaren, Williams and Benetton.

"I'm so happy. I want to thank Eddie Jordan and everybody at Jordan Grand Prix for giving me the opportunity to be in F1 and show my ability," said Pantano. "I will be giving my all as I really want to guarantee them good results. There are a lot of people I have to thank for helping me get to this position and I hope I will make them proud. I'm looking forward to driving the car some more in the test sessions, and then of course, I am really excited about my first Grand Prix in Melbourne in just a few weeks time."

Of his new signing, Eddie Jordan said, "Giorgio performed consistently with accomplished racecraft at the front of the field for three years in F3000 and he's ready for the challenge in F1. In Jordan Ford's driver pairing I believe we have the best possible combination of youth, experience and natural ability. Giorgio and Nick are seriously quick, skilled and hungry for success, which is exactly what we need to rejuvenate the team and lead Jordan's fight-back in 2004. I can't wait for the first race!"

Pantano becomes the fourth Italian on the 2004 grid, lining up alongside Renault's Jarno Trulli, Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella and another Formula One rookie, Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni.