Eddie Jordan Exclusive Interview With OLBG

Eddie Jordan speaks with OLBG about Lewis Hamilton, Netflix, and Ferrari in this insight to his current thoughts on the Sport and current events

Eddie Jordan Exclusive Interview With OLBG
Lutz H, CC BY 2.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Interview with Eddie

What did you make of the whole Fernando Alonso podium drama?

It's one of those things, it was very harsh. The first penalty, when you say Fernando Alonso is 9 inches to the side of the position, he's not further forward or gaining an advantage. The box the FIA has created is so difficult for the drivers to see it when they're sitting so low and the car is up against their ears with the halo covering their vision. Having served the five-second penalty, then to say the jack touched the car which then gave another penalty, it was an incredibly harsh decision and it had no leniency. If it's football, you get a warning and told 'if you do that again then you'll get a red card'. There doesn't seem to be any flexibility in Formula 1. There has to be some element of human understanding in the sport, if someone breaks the rules and does gain an advantage, then of course you should get a penalty. If there is a human error, no advantage gained or no bad intentions, then the stewards need to look at it in a different way.

100 podiums for Fernando Alonso at 42 years old, what do you make of his career?

I remember seeing Fernando Alonso pass Michael Schumacher from the outside on a damp track on a really difficult corner in Suzuka, Japan, and I said 'oh my god, how can he get away with that!'. Alonso pulled the move off and I thought from there that he was destined for greatness. I actually blame him for not winning four, six or maybe even eight-time world champion, he should have picked his teams better. In his 30s, Alonso went for the money when he could have gone a different route. Now he's come back to the understanding that he has a team around him that has enough to make the car finish well, but he won't beat the Red Bulls. I believe he will win races this year.

Latest F1 Constructors Championship Betting

Red Bull remains the ridiculously short priced bookmakers favourites to win in the F1 Constructors Championship Betting in 2023, whilst Ferrari and Mercedes are battling out for the second spot according to current bookmakers betting odds. For more information look at our F1 Drivers Constructors Championship Betting Guide expertly constructed by OLBG Expert Andrew Powell

Formula 1 Constructors Championship 2023 03 Jun @ 19:40 - Win Tournament
Red Bull 1.01
Mercedes 34.00
Aston Martin 51.00
Ferrari 126.00
Alpine 4001.00
McLaren 4001.00
Alfa Romeo 4001.00
AlphaTauri 4001.00
Haas 4001.00
Williams 4001.00

Is Max Verstappen going from P15 to P2 one of the most impressive drives he's done?

I'm a bit concerned because under normal circumstances, Max Verstappen would have won Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. I think there was an agreement to let Sergio Perez win the race if he had pole and led the race the whole time. What would happen to the team if they didn't let Perez win? I was Checo, I would not have let Verstappen pass. I think it was agreed that if Verstappen made it to second and Perez was still first, he would let him win the race. Was I surprised to hear Verstappen complain about a driveshaft? No. If you have 15 laps to go and there's a problem with the driveshaft, then it's going to break, and you heard the engineers say to Verstappen that the car was fine and under control, I think there was a message there. I'm probably trying to see behind-the-scenes, but I think Verstappen would have won the race if he was allowed to fight for it.

Image: shutterstock

Do you think Red Bull did not want a repeat of what happened in Brazil last year?

I don't think Max Verstappen thinks like that but I think Red Bull do. It's the same situation that I had with Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill in the Jordan era. I had to tell Schumacher to not pass Hill even though he was the quicker driver, and Hill made it very clear that if Schumacher tried to pass he would fight to keep his position. I remember thinking what is the point in that because they finished first and second, the team is the most important aspect and the team should not be taking sides with drivers. The Red Bulls have had a perfect start with both drivers finishing first and second in the first two races and they can both compete for the world championship.

If Jordan F1 were in Mercedes’ situation right now (Slow car, Lewis telling the team what they need to do, Lewis at the end of his contract) what would you be doing right now?

We saw the Mercedes car was poor last year, porpoising up and down but they have eradicated some of that. Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion who has a really impressive teammate in George Russell who was beaten his expectations so far. I'm critical of Toto Wolff of how he criticised his engineers and how they took their eye off the ball, it's all been done under his watch so it's his responsibility. The book starts with him, Wolff should face the criticism like a man, like a team boss, like a chief executive and face up to the fact that Mercedes have got it wrong. They're on the same level as Ferrari but not on the same level as Aston Martin or Red Bull. Aston Martin is made up from a number of people who come from Red Bull, and they have the Mercedes engine with Fernando Alonso driving the car. They have two podium finishes now and it's great for F1. If we did not have that excitement and Red Bull continued to walk away with the Championship, it would highlight Mercedes' decline even more.

Should Hamilton go to Aston Martin or Ferrari to win one more title before his retirement?

Formula 1 needs Lewis Hamilton in a Ferrari and Ferrari needs Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton should look to go to another Championship-winning team, but the drama is who is going to move aside? Red Bull would not let Sergio Perez for Hamilton because they try to encourage drivers who have been through their teams to try and reach the top like Max Verstappen did. Hamilton is a McLaren man, but I can't see him going back there because of the position they're in. The only other places I see Hamilton going is Ferrari or staying at Mercedes. At the moment, there's no contract signed and Toto Wolff said if he was Hamilton he would consider leaving. What would I be thinking if I was Hamilton, am I really loved here? What is actually happening at Mercedes? I'm not in the thick of things like I used to be. I don't know Wolff's point of view on the situation but I believe when he says he wants Hamilton to stay. But the Mercedes is not good enough for Hamilton.

Latest 2023 F1 Drivers Championship Betting Odds

Max Verstappen is very much the pre-season favorite to collect in the F1 Drivers Championship Betting this season. Betting on this event can be helped with a host of the latest information from the F1 Drivers Championship betting guide put together by Andy Powell.

Formula 1 Drivers Championship 2023 03 Jun @ 19:40 - Win Tournament
Max Verstappen 1.04
Sergio Perez 26.00
Fernando Alonso 41.00
Lewis Hamilton 51.00
Charles Leclerc 201.00
George Russell 251.00

If Lewis Hamilton needs Ferrari, does Charles Leclerc need Mercedes?

Now that would be interesting. Charles Leclerc is very much a Mercedes type of driver, and to see Leclerc and George Russell fight it out would be great. That could be a deal in heaven. I know Leclerc quite well as a person and he's magnificent, but so is Hamilton, so who is to say it would be any different. I'm sure everyone in F1 would love to see a swap between Hamilton and Leclerc, that would be mouth-watering. When I dream of Hamilton going to Ferrari, it is just a thought because he has won seven world championship titles with Mercedes so he might want to stay. Then again, all the great drivers would feel the pull of a great team like Ferrari, that's where I think Hamilton should end up.

Is it entirely feasible that Red Bull win all 23 races?

Right at this moment, I don't think it will happen but it definitely could. If you were a betting man, then your odds would be getting skinnier. Tell me who is able, under normal circumstances, to mount a challenge against Red Bull? Looking at the first two races, there is no chance of another team rivalling them, it's a rollercoaster at the moment. This is the most dominant car that I've seen in a very long time.

Red Bull has the longevity, loyalty, understanding and credibility between all the parties involved. It's a well-groomed and oiled team who wants to be successful and be at the very top. They have top drivers with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, a top principal with Christian Horner, a top designer, a top aerodynamicist and top management. What have the other teams got? Not that. Mercedes had the best for a while when Lewis Hamilton was at the top of his game. The car Hamilton won his championships with was a top car, but now they need serious change to put up a challenge to Red Bull.

Jen Ross, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Fans were touched by your comments about Mick Schumacher reaching out. Do you speak regularly to him about his dad? If not, do you plan to get in touch again?

Privacy is such a vital aspect to sport, business and your personal life. Mick Schumacher's mum, Corinna Schumacher, has set out some rules, I know her very well and a long time before Michael Schumacher. She's a lovely girl and I knew her when she married Michael so there is a long history of good relations. I made an effort to go see Michael in the early days and Corinna refused, and rightfully so because too many people wanted to go see him. Jean Todt was given the privilege to go see him because of how close they were from their time together at Ferrari which is completely understandable. I was not able to go see Michael and they said 'We love you Eddie and we've been involved with you for a very long time, but we do need privacy and safeguard of Michael'. This was the most horrific situation for Mick and Corinna. It's been nearly 10 years now and Corinna has not been able to go to a party, to lunch or this or that, she's like a prisoner because everyone would want to talk to her about Michael when she doesn't need reminding of it every minute. It's also difficult for Mick is trying to make a career for himself in motor racing. If Mick did not have this pressure of his father looming over him, he would probably be a much better driver than what we think. However, it is his father and he has to understand and cope with that, but my thoughts are with him. I don't reach out to Mick often, but I loved what he said about driving the Jordan car that his father had driven, it was a nostalgic and a very nice touch. Nevertheless, Mick needs his own free space and time like everyone in that family needs.

Are critics who want to know Schumacher’s condition being insensitive and cruel?

Some people think Michael was the best driver ever, some think he was a genius too, other people say he manipulated and circumvented the rules to get what he needed, best I don't say what side I stand on. Jordan gave Schumacher his chance and he left very soon after that, as far as I'm concerned, that's whats happened.

Peak Hamilton and Schumacher are driving the same car. Who wins?

Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher were from different eras in their peak. I'd hate to see them battle because it would be fireworks. Schumacher would stick his elbows out more than Hamilton, but Hamilton has that extra piece of control. If it was over six races then I'd say it would be 3-3. I'll stick my neck out and say that Hamilton just about edges Schumacher if they were both driving in the same car.

Michael Schumacher was criticised for his driving antics, with even Lewis Hamilton calling him a “dirty driver”. What did you think of them?

Michael Schumacher is like every top-quality driver. You can't be at that level and have a winning culture if you're not aggressive and tough, Schumacher had both of those traits. The critics remember the illegal floor on the Benetton and when he parked or crashed the car in Monaco to get pole position. I was involved when Eddie Irvine went to Ferrari and when the contract said 'Irvine had to move aside to let Schumacher win the race', I don't know any other driver who operated like that. Ferrari tolerated it and they won a load of Championships so who are they to complain. You did not see that with Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna or Lewis Hamilton. But that's where people will say Schumacher was a little bit too cunning when it came to racing.

Lewis, Fernando, Max, Charles - Equal machinery, who’s winning, what order?

At the moment, I'd say that Max Verstappen would still win if Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso were in equal machinery. Verstappen has a new inner belief of himself and will continue to improve. Formula 1 drivers need to understand that this partnership between Verstappen and Red Bull is going to be formidable over the years. Verstappen is not stupid and will not look to join any other team, especially with his dad and management team behind him. Anyone hoping that Verstappen leaves Red Bull any time soon is dreaming. I'd then say Hamilton would come second place in an equal car, with Alonso and Leclerc battling for third. We still have not seen enough from Leclerc for me to say otherwise, but the pressure of driving for Ferrari is huge. If Leclerc went to a smaller team like Mercedes, you would see fireworks from him. 

What is it about Fernando Alonso that allows him to compete at 41? Can he mount one more challenge?

If I was Fernando Alonso, I know I would have a very fast and reliable car that can get him on the podium, which he's proven twice already. You can't get there by fluke, his speed is obvious. But I would look at the gap between him and Sergio Perez at the end of the race, the tyres were similar. If I was Alonso, I'd be targeting Perez and seeing how to get into his space and head. It was a very good start from Alonso, but Perez made a great move and pulled away, despite the fact Alonso was desperate to hold onto the DRS. Alonso got whipped by an unbelievable Red Bull car, and it would probably happen again because keeping up with the Red Bull is too much for Aston Martin at the moment.

For you, if you were suddenly in charge, what would you change about F1?

There must be some leniency in F1, you can't rule with an iron fist otherwise you become a dictator. I would hate if the FIA end up being described as dictators because they are doing their best with the rules they have. Is there any way of understanding how there was a mistake was made? I'd like the FIA to be more tolerant to mistakes.

These pitstops of two seconds are absolutely ridiculous. Two seconds is not long enough to focus on doing the job properly. We've had limits before like cost caps, why don't we have a people cap? Why should there be 24 people descending on a car to change four wheels, it's not normal, you don't see it at the car garage down the road. If F1 teams had two people on each tyre, one person to take off the tyre, the other one put it on and then the same guy who took the tyre off should use the wheel gun. It works, it should be a five-to-seven-second job. I'd be against seeing the reintroduction of refuelling. I think pit stops should be elongated so it's a better show. If that became the new rule of how many people are allowed in the pit stops, then you could see all new strategies of changing tyres. It should be a maximum of 10 people, two for each tyre and two on the front and back jack. If a front wing needs changing then another two people can come in as long as they don't get involved with the tyres.

Pre-Season Interview

Eddie Jordan is a well-known and highly respected figure in the world of motor racing. He has had a long and successful career as an owner, manager, team principal and consultant for some of the biggest names in Formula One. He is also known for his work with young drivers, helping to develop their skills on track and off. Eddie's experience has seen him win numerous awards from both peers in the industry as well as fans around the globe, cementing his place among motorsport greats. 

Here, Eddie gives us his thoughts on a range of current subjects

Teams will be showcasing in pre-season testing but will also be sandbagging

There's a lot of skulduggery that goes on with the teams, they're positioning themselves. Some teams want to be quick and show sponsors that they're going to be competitive and show young drivers a chance. The really sensible teams and the teams at the top, they'll be doing long runs, they'll want to see how the tyres are reacting to the new floor regulations. The floors have been altered to stop the porpoising, and hopefully that works but you never know what comes out of the woodworks when these cars get running. 

My view is that the Bahrain test will show a lot as to where teams are. You need to be careful you don't get a time that's out of sync, in other words, this is just a quick run, low fuel, soft tyres. Some teams will try that and see what their qualifying position is like, and that's no harm. As Jordan, we would have done that, it's nice to know where you stand. It gives confidence to the staff, the team, the drivers, and everyone involved. They can show that the car is going to be competitive.

Don't read too much into it, but if you look at the long runs, and single them out, you can see which of the cars will be there at the end. 

Betting on The F1 Champions

All betting sites offer odds at the start and during the F1 season as to who will be the drivers and constructors champions, as well as weekly betting on GP winners

UK Sports Betting Sites

Netflix has done a lot for Formula 1, especially in the USA and Asia

Credit - Netflix

I think Netflix has had a huge positive impact on Formula 1. Particularly in America, they love it, especially the first series, it was huge. I think the characters were very well played, and I understand that a lot of people got into it as a result, younger kids too. There has to be something like that, it's not just about Lewis Hamilton, it's not just about Max Verstappen.

Of course, there's a huge fanbase coming in from Holland as you would expect and there always has been a lot of English participants in British drivers and involvement with motoracing. Leaving that aside, I think Drive To Survive has had fabulous and positive ramifications in the US and even Asia. That's why we're seeing the huge amount of people wanting to go and see races.

Ferrari appointing Fréd Vasseur will break their bubble and will hopefully be enough to catch Red Bull and Mercedes

It'll take time for Ferrari. I mean it's a culture inside Ferrari. The way they go about their racing, the way they meet each other, how they eat. They're in their own little bubble. I think taking Fréd Vasseur will be a big advantage because he doesn't speak Italian. He will bring a different style of work to the people there.

Whether they like it or not, if they want to compete against Mercedes and Red Bull, you don't have to be a genius to work out both teams are based in England, the teams, the staff and the culture of motoracing from a British point of view is the best. There was a time under John Barnard, when they used to make most of the chassis and most of the cars in England and they were very strong times for Ferrari, it's now different. I think Fréd will bring some of the culture from what he did at Alfa Romeo, and we will have to wait and see. My view is that he will make a big change. Whether it's enough to catch Mercedes, because they've been together for such a long time, just like Red Bull, we don't know. To break down that continuity factor that they've got is going to be immense and it will be very interesting to see how he's able to harness that team in Ferrari to motivate them, to create a new level of desire, passion and belief that hasn't been there in previous years but I think Fréd an ability to do that. 

Lewis Hamilton believes he has the best chance this coming season to claim his eighth championship

We all thought Fernando Alonso would retire and Lewis is a long way off his age. I wouldn't be talking about his retirement after hearing him say he will go on until whenever. I think in his mind, he certainly has his luck and financially to retire but he's still committed. Seven times world champion, I do believe he thinks he has the best chance this coming season to make his championship eight.

The reason I say that and the reason why I think he can beat George Russell is because this time last year, Lewis was devastated. What happened in Abu Dhabi in 2021, last race of the season, had it happened in the mid-season, it would be something you could probably get your mind through but the way it happened, it was the last race and for the eighth championship seriously affected Lewis' mindset and his mind wasn't as clear as it should have been going into the start of the season. I would discount the first 20 or 30 percent of last season in terms of not seeing Lewis at his best and he'll be back to his best now.

I think as an indicator, George Russell beating him in terms of total points for the championship in 2022, will be a blow to him. I can't remember the last time a team mate beat him other than Nico Rosberg who was a super smart driver in terms of how he went about it and capitalised on any little mistakes that Lewis did and went on to win the championship, which people didn't believe he could do but he did. There's everything to play for this year, I think Lewis will be very strong nevertheless.

Toto Wolff will be able to handle Hamilton and Russell, similar to that of Hamilton and Rosberg

Toto is very calm, he understands these things. He's been at Mercedes for a long time. For people to run an F1 team, you can never buy experience. Anyone who has knowledge of when they were a driver and they worked their way up the ranks, then come to this, that's where Toto and Christian Horner are strong. They have a knowledge that is there, what has happened with Ferrari in the past is they didn't have that. 

Rosberg and George. Rosberg was so clever, so smart, how he capitalised on every little error and mistake, psychologically as well as sporting and all of the aspects and he played a very very strong game.

AngMoKio, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I must ask him the next time I see him, although he would never admit to it of course. He probably in his mind, if the truth was known, but I believe the reason he retired after being world champion was he realised he couldn't beat Lewis the next time around. He beat him, and in most people's minds was a bit lucky, but nevertheless you have to earn your luck and he did. He took every advantage and well done to Nico Rosberg, he's a smashing boy. What he did in that team gave them a massive boost but when you've got two drivers like that, all fighting for the championship, the team boss is never going to take sides, and shouldn't take sides. Toto let them fight it out amongst themselves, and because of that, Nico won and confused and surprised everybody by retiring. A very brave decision because traditionally after winning a world championship, it's like seeing all the sevens on a slot machine, that's when you make your money but Nico was above that. I see a lot of him, I see him with his two girls, he's as happy as he could be in his new life and is a good commentator. I really like the guy and admire the guy for the way he handled himself in that situation.

The FIA will be looking into the unpainted bodywork on cars and sponsors might not like it

I'm a commercial guy, and if there was a sponsor that said to me they wanted the car multi coloured, they could have it multicoloured as long as they paid. The weight is up to the team. To lose weight costs a lot. You have to equate to the money coming in and the money going out. In terms of the weight, it's different materials, different structures, and how to make the car itself. You can find weight in certain areas but the FIA are very strong on safety and will insist that all the regulations are in order.

I think more and more sponsors will come and those areas of pure carbon will disappear very quickly as soon as the world gets busier on a commercial front.

Eddie Jordan’s best 3 British F1 drivers of all time: Lewis Hamilton, Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark

There's such an array of great drivers. You could go back to Mike Hawthorn and Mike Hailwood. I actually think John Surtees is right up there, champion on two wheels and four wheels, but he doesn't get mentioned that much. You have Damon Hill who drove for me, he earned Jordan our first ever Formula 1 win, but then his father who was double world champion.

Jenson Button, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, there's such an array of stars there. 

However, Jim Clark stands out for everybody. He's recognised as being the inspiration and the greatness of the great driver that he was. JYS - Jackie Stewart, champion so many times. And you can not, ever, leave out Lewis Hamilton because for me, Lewis, Jackie and Jim, what a trio, it's just remarkable. The ones I mentioned before then have been unbelievable stars but those three stand out for me.

Mick Schumacher has had it hard, I’m sure he’ll be back though

Well, there's a little story that I'm happy to share, and that is that Mick Schumacher isn't named after his dad like a lot of people seem to think. Mick Schumacher is named after a person whose father, Michael, was in total awe of a sportsman who had won five world titles back to back with Honda and that is none other than Mick Doohan. As a result of that, and as a mark of respect, Michael Schumacher called his son Mick. There's a lot going on there and the respect is huge.

As far as I'm concerned, I was touched by it and the reason I was touched by it was because it can't be easy knowing that your father is not able to be part of the family, he's there but he's not there. I have my own view that I don't want to make public but my guess is that Mick showed elating compassion and the way he spoke about his father when the season was not going particularly well for him, he's been dropped for somebody else, and that's a tough decision, he has another fight to come back and to make his name, climb up that ladder again. I'm quite sure he will do it. Maybe it was the right thing that happened, but it touched me because I felt so much about Michael, I went out of my way to find him, give him his first chance in Spa, didn't last very long but that love for him still lasts and will always do so while I'm able to draw breaths.

I can’t see Daniel Ricciardo replacing Sergio Perez at Red Bull next season

There's not a chance Checo Perez will be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo. Checo is a darling in that team. Remember what Checo does, he is brilliant foil for Max, he is strong, he can win when he needs to win, or when he has the chance and opportunity to win. There was a bit of a kerfuffle between the two of them, and the opportunity to be second in the championship was a different issue. 

It's a perfect scenario for Red Bull, as it was for Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. Irvine was happy, he understood the rules, he was being paid on the basis of what he agreed to do. I'm sure Checo is the same. He brings good sponsorship to the team, I doubt Daniel Ricciardo does, not to the same level as the Mexican can bring. The biggest thing Red Bull have is continuity. They will not want to change that. Ricciardo has been there before, he knows he doesn't have to be given special treatment, he knows how the team operates, the same people were there; Christian Horner and Adrian Newey. They're the key people in that team, Daniel knows them well but it would have to be as a result of a driver not being able to participate, but just to sack Checo, I don't see that at all.

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