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Exclusive interview with Midland's Colin Kolles, Jordan's new team principal... 03 Feb 2005

Dr Colin Kolles, Managing Director and Team Principal, Jordan Grand Prix Ltd, the future Midland Formula One Team. © Midland

With the Midland Group’s recent purchase of Jordan, Dr Colin Kolles has become the team’s new managing director and team principal. Ahead of Thursday’s announcement of their exciting new driver line-up, he spoke exclusively to Formula1.com…

Q: As one of the new kids on the block in the Formula One paddock, what was your impression after being a ‘first timer’ at one of the infamous team manager meetings at Heathrow recently?
Colin Kolles:
There is so much hype about these meetings. As if clandestine men would meet to mess up something and the rest of the paddock has to face the music? Ridiculous. It’s a meeting of men involved in a sport that is also part of the entertainment business. So they are talking sports and business.

Q: Three newcomers from more junior racing categories have slipped into paramount roles in Formula One racing recently – you, Trevor Carlin and Christian Horner. What do you expect from the largest input of fresh blood the sport has seen in years?
CK:
True, the paddock has been stalled somewhat in the last few years and so I expect positive signals from what you call a fresh blood injection. But in reality it is a natural generational handover that happens everywhere. What I anticipate for this year is consolidation and the development of a viable business model that will further cement the role of Formula One racing as the most global sport platform in the coming years.

Q: The announcement of Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro as your drivers will doubtless draw quite some attention. What makes you so sure that they are the ones, and what benefits do you expect from their appointment?
CK:
Narain and Tiago are the best bets right now. They are a notch above many of the already established drivers in F1. But that is the problem with the F1 establishment: their heads are so much in the clouds that their feet have left the ground. Or plainly speaking, they don’t know what happens at the foundations – the lower racing leagues. They too often let obscure managers bring them so-called talents, which is only of benefit to those managers. We will never take part in this fatal game. With the appointment of Narain and Tiago we open new worlds for Formula One. Particularly in the case of Narain, India with its huge market potential will fall entirely under the spell of Formula One.”

Q: As 2005 will be a transitional year for Jordan, culminating in the renaming of the team as Midland F1, what do you expect from the season ahead?
CK:
We want to achieve constant improvements over the course of the season as we learn more about the interaction between the new engine and the chassis, as there was very little time for testing. We want to drive into the points now and then - and to beat Red Bull.”