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Q & A with Jordan's Alex Shnaider 05 Mar 2005

Alex Schnaider (RUS) Jordan Team Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 4 March 2005

Formula One racing has two new team owners for 2005. One of them, Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz let it be known that he will be watching this weekend’s race from his home in Austria. However, the other, Alex Shnaider, is very much in attendance at Albert Park.

Midland Group founder Shnaider announced his aspirations to enter the sport only last October, when his plan was to be on the grid in Melbourne 2006. Now he is actually here – a year ahead of schedule following his purchase of Eddie Jordan's team.

Q: So how does he feel to see a race through the eyes of a team owner?
Alex Shnaider:
Very exciting. And I have to admit that I am pretty nervous. The acquisition was finalized only four weeks ago so we had very little time to get ready, let alone make fundamental changes. I previously pointed out that this will be a season for learning to understand the mechanism of Formula One – to be ready in 2006 when the team will run under the name of Midland.

Q: The team’s management line-up is new to Formula One racing and their choosing to also sign rookie drivers has surprised many paddock insiders. Do you feel comfortable with this decision?
AS:
Both, Narain (Karthikeyan) and Tiago (Monteiro) have shown in lower racing categories that they were ready for the big step into Formula One. And the achieved results support this assertion. The conditions here are very difficult and both have demonstrated that they have the talent and the guts to be players in the pinnacle of motorsport.

Q: Was David Coulthard an option at one point?
AS:
No, never. We are in a situation where it would have been unwise to get burdened with something as a number-one driver status. We wanted two young guys who would be treated equally and who would know that they have to seize their chances if they still want to be around next season. And with Narain we had the chance to get the whole Indian subcontinent hooked on Formula One.

Q: What are your hopes for this race weekend?
AS:
That both cars will finish the race and that we will leave Melbourne with tons of experience for evaluation.

Q: Are championship points on your radar screen this season?
AS:
We will be happy to pocket points whenever it is possible – when other teams drop them. But it would be foolhardy to make a statement about a certain figure.

Q: Will the paddock see you from now on as a frequent visitor?
AS:
I am planning to attend a maximum of six races. The team is only one facet of Midland’s many business interests. But naturally, it is the most exciting one.