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Exclusive interview with Adrian Burgess 10 Jul 2005

Adrian Burgess (GBR) Jordan Team Manager.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, 1 July 2005

Politicians traditionally get three month’s grace when starting a new job. As Formula One racing is a considerably faster game, 30 days must do for Adrian Burgess, Jordan’s new Sporting Director. He was promoted to control the team after predecessor Trevor Carlin quit - so how have the first four weeks been?

Q: You were really thrown in at the deep end with this job – how are you getting on?
AB: The opportunity to take this role came a little bit as a surprise for me. It was not a very pleasant surprise but I am excited about the prospect and the challenge… The last four weeks have really flown. We had already so much going on with the continued development of the car and restructuring for next year. So it has been long days. The pace has been extremely busy but good fun.

Q: Having been in racing for a long time you will have a keen sense of what the team needs – where will be your main focus?
AB:
My main role is to try to help Colin [Kolles, Managing Director] and management to put a good technical structure together to enable us to try to start closing the gap. We have decided to make an update, whether it be the new car or next year's car or an update mid season, we need to put these things in place for us to grow technically as a team. Jordan Grand Prix has become very small, with a limited amount of money that has been able to be spent these last few years. We have to turn this around. I think we are going in the right direction and make steady gains. Our aim is to catch up and go in the back of the group of teams in front of us, as for the moment we are a group on our own. We need to head for that group composed of the Red Bull, Sauber etc. I am sure we can manage this with the help of proper resources and staff.

Q: What effect has collecting 11 points from the distinctly unconventional Indianapolis race had on the team?
AB:
The biggest benefit has come from morale. We are aware it was a difficult set of circumstances and we could not have done it without them. But at the end of the day we have still brought the cars home – and managed to lap the Minardis. The boys were up on the fence and down on the podium celebrating. It is a motivation. Everybody at the factory was happy. 11 points are 11 points, we will take them any way we can. The package we brought to Indy allowed us to race and the other seven teams couldn’t. When we were struggling with our tyres in other races, Michelin teams did not slow down to help us. So we took whatever we could. It was good for everyone, good for the team. Maybe it is the last 11 points for Jordan, maybe this is not. We have to keep trying and if we have another opportunity we will take them.

Q: With the Indy result in the pocket what will be the main focus for you and for the team for the rest of the season now that we are beyond the half-way point?
AB:
If the circumstances prove right, we would like to introduce the new EJ15B. If we cannot introduce it in a reliable and positive approach then we will not be forced into that. We have tried something different with the B-car. Most of the teams with resources that they have would not introduce it overnight. So we cannot fall in this trap of introducing it too early. All the time the B car introduction is a negative point for this year but a positive thing for next year as we are learning every day with the new configuration we are trying to achieve, we are building an engineering solution that will help us with next year’s car. So it is still a positive thing and we have to keep working with the 15B and try to fix those problems to come up with a better package for 2006, when we become Midland. Technically we have to focus on the performance of the car which is where we have the biggest deficit and try to carry on developing it as much as we can this year.

Q: The reliability of the cars is outstanding – now the speed has to be added to close the gap to the glory days when Jordan finished third in the constructors’ championship. What is your roadmap to achieving this?
AB:
Finishing as high as third in the championship is a dream for all of us. It will take us a very long time to reach something like that again. There are no miracles in Formula One… It has been a steady decline for us. Therefore it can only be a steady return to that level of competitiveness. It will take us a long time to reach that level again. The first and major part for us to allow this is to get the resources and financial package. We need to have the money in order to be able to solve the problems. The marketing side would become much better if we can invest in the business. We would become more attractive to bring the money back in. First of all we need to invest in what we have and start to build on a new team.

Q: Staying with Toyota as engine supplier would give the team the chance to build the new car from a solid basis. Is the development on schedule for the launch of the new car in conjunction with the renaming of the team?
AB:
At the moment, we do not intend to launch the new car until we relaunch the team as a Midland next year. What we will do is to produce an interim car to enable us to run next year’s engine and over the winter testing, we will introduce different major parts, which will be introduced for the 2006 car. We do not want to rush in bringing the 2006 car too early because we need the time in the wind tunnel, which is the biggest area we need to work on. The introduction of the 2006 car will probably not be before February. Until that point we will be working quite heavily on putting the various parts of the package together and start to run the interim car during that time. Staying with Toyota obviously gives us a continuation, which is a key thing for everybody working here. It is something that Jordan has not been able to do in the last few races for various reasons. It is good to continue working with the same people year after year. It will give us a benefit and it will play a key role in the building of Midland. Toyota is the perfect partner for us to work with. We want to be in a position where we can give them more help. The further up in the grid we are, we will be more beneficial for them. We will also learn things from them as well. It will be a big bonus for us to continue with Toyota.

Q: There are a lot of rumours around regarding the future of Jordan and whether or not it is going to be sold – can you give us any answer?
AB:
Sorry, no comment.