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February debut for the Midland M16 27 Oct 2005

James Key (GBR) Jordan Engineer. Formula One Testing, 22 - 24 April 2003,, Silverstone, England. World ©  Batchelor/Sutton

The first Formula One car to bear the Midland name will not appear on track until next February - the month prior to the start of the 2006 season - the team have confirmed.

Jordan had a reliable, if unspectacular, 2005 campaign as they prepared to make the transition to Midland F1, and technical co-ordinator James Key is confident their new M16 machine will mark the start of a positive future for the team.

“Obviously it is sad to see the name of Jordan go from F1, as it is a team which has enjoyed a fair amount of success over the last 15 years,” he said. “However, recent seasons have been tough and this year was compromised by not being able to design an entirely new car. With the change to Midland F1, we now have a new opportunity ahead of us, and, with a new car for the 2006 season, a fresh platform on which to develop.”

Jordan scored 12 points this season, though 11 of those came from the Bridgestone-only US Grand Prix. The EJ15B car, introduced late in the year, brought some performance gains and elements of its aero concepts will carry over to the M16. However, with the new car’s track debut not until February, Key admits Midland are not expecting to make an instant impact on 2006 races.

“We have to be realistic, as where we are coming from requires a significant step in performance for us to be in the points on a regular basis. Many team members - myself included - are confident that we can once again become a competitive and successful team, as in the past. The M16 will see a lot of development work during the 2006 season and, with the continued improvement of the facilities at the Silverstone HQ, we have a very positive outlook for the future."

Midland recently announced Dutchman Nicky Pastorelli as their third driver for 2006, but neither of their race seats has yet been confirmed.