Massa, Firman top Jordan's shortlist for last slot

LONDON: Briton Ralph Firman and Brazilian Felipe Massa are leading Jordan’s shortlist for the last available slot in Formula One, the team said on Friday. 

Jordan marketing director Mark Gallagher told Reuters that Massa and Formula Nippon champion Firman were “very much in discussion” for the drive. 

Italian Giorgio Pantano was also in consideration while BAR test driver Anthony Davidson had faded from the front row of candidates. 

Briton Eddie Irvine, previously seen as a contender, dropped out of the reckoning on Thursday when the 37-year-old said he would not be racing this year. 

Jordan have Italian Giancarlo Fisichella under contract but need to replace Japan’s Takuma Sato, now a BAR test driver, for the season which starts in Australia on March 9. 

They have said that the choice will depend ultimately on the driver bringing sponsorship to the team. 

Gallagher said that an internal decision was likely next week.  

“The discussions are coming along, it’s pretty imminent. At the end of the day we have to go testing,” said Gallagher. 

Firman, 27, has tested with BAR and was British Formula Three champion in 1996 after racing against current F1 drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli. 

But he said that former Sauber driver Massa remained the frontrunner and he had plans to return to Japan for another season of Formula Nippon if Jordan fell through. 

“I think Massa is the favourite. He’s in plum position because he’s got some heavy backing,” Firman said. 

“But nothing has been officially signed yet. I would love to be in F1, it’s what I’ve always dreamed of.” – Reuters  

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