What went wrong between Jordan and Verstappen?

February 14, 2004

The following is an interview conducted by Jos Verstappen's (pictured right) personal website that explains the way things turned out between he and Jordan resulting in Giorgio Pantano getting the ride.

Can you explain in a few sentences why the deal didn't go through?
Oh yes, it just didn't work. Jordan didn't want to give in and that is why we couldn't reach a deal. That's it. Who's to blame? In Formula 1 it is virtually impossible to pinpoint the cause. It was a combination of multiple factors: sponsor demands, team interests and driver's preferences. We were close.

In the media it is suggested that your salary demands are exuberant.
Nonsense, I am not going to talk about my salary wishes. The demands I proposed are fair. Media speculation is part of Formula 1. Apparently I received a letter of Eddie Jordan telling me he didn't need my services. Not true; we broke off negotiations last week. We were tired of waiting, endless talks. We had enough.

Was it possible to make that decision earlier? We waited all winter, resulting in this.
Everything you agree has to be written in a contract. Only when all parties reach an agreement on all points, even the smallest detail, a contract is ready is to be signed. I've always stuck by: first everything needs to be signed and sealed before I fit a seat or even drive some laps in a test car. I could have fitted a seat a long time ago but I didn't want it. Only when the contract is signed I will render my services to a team. Again and again we had the feeling we were getting closer. Especially this week when the talks we re-started. Last week we had the feeling we were going in circles, no solution in sight. We have done our best but Eddie Jordan just wouldn't give in, this week it was exactly the same all over again.

Do you think that Jordan has considered your driver qualities?
The lack of appreciation does hurt. It is not that Eddie wanted me only for the money. That isn't the fact, he knows my qualities and wanted me because of that. Maybe he preferred the money just a bit more.

Are you still aiming for a drive in Formula 1 or are you looking elsewhere?
For the time being I will focus my efforts on Formula 1. It won't surprise me if some seats become available during the season. Well, they know that I am on the bench with a nice sponsor package on offer. DTM? Nah, completely full. We do have some contact in the USA but that's all. I keep hoping for a speedy return to Formula 1.

You were very harsh in your comments about Minardi. Do you still stick with that?
Oh yes, I don't want to be the car with the red lantern. Not another year driving at the back of the grid, that is not something a driver with my experience and talent should have to do. No way.

Trust's MD, Michel Perridon and Hubb Rothengatter didn't seem to be the best of friends. Perridon has decided to support you, unconditionally. Is Huub Rothengatter still part of this?
Many things have happened thanks to Michel, but Huub too. I have said it before, Huub will stay to be my manager. It is thanks to him that I have been in Formula 1 for such a long time. He will always be part of it. Besides, Huub and Michel have had a good chat and put their differences aside.

Have you spoken with Michael Schumacher about your dealing with Jordan? He is one of your friends, what does he think?
No, we never talk about these kind of matters. What would he be able to say? He is not part of the negotiations. We do talk about F1, but more in general. I spoke with him on the phone last week. We are friends, you talk about anything, Formula 1 is only a small part; nothing more - nothing less.

You won't be on the grid, but are you going to any of the Grand Prix this season?
No, I don't feel like doing that. If I go to a circuit, it is to race. I hope that will happen rather sooner than later.

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