Richards and Hyundai could buy Jordan

UPDATE #2 There is still speculation as to whether Jordan will stay with Toyota power or go with Cosworth and Hyundai. Toyota thinks they still have the deal. "There is no rush on our side to make an announcement," said Toyota's John Howett on Thursday's FIA Press Conference. "To some extent the ball is in Jordan's court, but I can confirm that our intention is to supply Jordan next year." Taking this into account, Howett revealed that talks are not dead with Williams. He said that there is an 'informal discussion' with Sir Frank's team but insisted that it is 'too late' to wrap anything up for 2006. John is determined to add to our confusion however, adding "It's dangerous to say never." 07/21/05 This article talks more about the Jordan engine situation for 2006. Jordan F1 has 10 days in which to complete its engine deal with Toyota and Williams is waiting quietly on the sidelines, keen to see whether the Russian-owned team will hit the deadline. The deal between Jordan and Toyota is agreed but it depends on payments being made and Jordan has been struggling for cash in recent months as the Russians behind the Midland Group do not seem interested in coming up with the cash and instead are trying to sell the team. They want $66m so it is not surprising that they are having trouble finding a buyer. There are several possible buyers out there but only if the price comes down to around $30m.

What is interesting is that Jordan has signed the Concorde Agreement extension deal. This might have been done to enable the team to borrow money (perhaps from Bernie Ecclestone) to pay for the engines without help from Russia. A new buyer might consider a Cosworth deal more attractive because the engines can be badged and there have been rumors that David Richards is looking at taking Hyundai into F1 using Jordan as a vehicle. For the Korean car maker a deal with Cosworth would be a good place to start.

07/15/05 There have been some rumors in recent days linking former Benetton and BAR boss David Richards with a deal to acquire the struggling Jordan F1 team as the current owners Midland seem to be going nowhere in no particular hurry. The team has yet to confirm its engines for 2006 and there is no sign of any investment being made by Midland amid rumors that some of the partners in the business are opposed to the F1 project.

The F1 authorities are very keen that Jordan be kept alive because they do not want the field to drop below 20 cars and while there is still talk going on with Eddie Irvine and his Russian backer Roustam Tariko, it seems that Richards is also involved and is trying to put together a deal to acquire a team, rather than working for someone else.

There have been other rumors suggesting that Richards is hoping to lure Korea's Hyundai into F1 with backing from Samsung.

There is no doubt that Hyundai does have big ambitions which include F1 if it is possible. The company has been growing rapidly in recent years following the break-up of the old Hyundai industrial empire into five different companies in 2003. Until 2004 Hyundai was competing (unsuccessfully) in the World Rally Championship, so Richards has the necessary contacts.

Whether Samsung might also be involved is quite another matter. Samsung and Hyundai have traditionally been bitter rivals but since the Hyundai break-up Samsung has reigned supreme as Korea's top industrial group. There is no doubt that Samsung has been sniffing around F1 recently but it remains to be seen whether there will be a deal with a different team.

The rival LG company is also said to be looking seriously at F1 sponsorship. Korean interest in F1 is growing and it should not be forgotten that there is a deal in place for there to be an F1 race in Korea in 2009. [Editor's Note: Champ Car will race in South Korea starting this year. What companies are they talking to? Or don't they have an office in Korea to look after their interests?]

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