first_imgEddie Jordan is variously described as a fun-loving family man, an independent maverick and an incredibly astute businessman. On the eve of the final Formula One race of the 2003 season, I caught up with him at home to find out which of these images best fit the man himself. Eddie gets a lot out of life, has a lot of fun, but as he says to me, “coming from Ireland, it is very much in the culture there that you shouldn’t take yourself to seriously.” He’s well aware however, that Formula One is a pretty serious business, worth billions of pounds worldwide, so at the same time he insists, there is often a requirement to focus and concentrate, and for him this requirement has been there for a long time, and is very much a part of who he is. I ask him whether, at my age, he had this same concentration, and how he went about enjoying himself: “In many ways I took myself more seriously at your age than I do now, although I was always dreaming, but there was this need to be considering your future, how you’re gonna get on in life, how you’re gonna make a living.” Surely an attitude prevalent amongst many students at this University. He started out as a banker, but this was brought to a close by his passion for motor-racing, which as he explains, started out as a hobby, and progressed through becoming a professional racing driver, to owning arguably the most successful independent team in contemporary Formula One. He explains that after a great summer, he is exhausted by this stage of the year. When I spoke to him he was clearly a man in need of a good night’s sleep after some heavy travelling. I ask him how he switches off, what his week consists of, bearing in mind that the racing takes place every fortnight. He works extremely hard Monday to Friday, about 12 hours away at the office, speaking to lawyers, bankers and accountants, hardly anybody’s idea of fun, “but I do normally try to do something for Friday and Saturday night,” and he often plays golf at the weekend. What about his job does he enjoy, what gives him the most pleasure? Unsurprisingly for such a renowned deal-broker, it is “the buzz” of closing an important agreement, as he has in the recent past with giants Benson and Hedges and Deutsche Posts, which really gets his blood running. Citing how quickly the day seems to pass for him as proof of how much his working life appeals to him, it is clear that he is kept busy, and is completely immersed in what he does, which he adds is in part down to the “happiness he feels at his achievement.” He goes on to explain this happiness, by looking at where he came from: “there was no motor-sport culture in Ireland, just mostly football, so that made it more difficult, and I had to work non-stop to make the breakthrough.” And what a breakthrough it has been. When I ask him which moments of his life he has enjoyed the most, and of which he is the proudest, he says that along with being present at the birth of all four of his kids, and the day he first met his wife, Marie (the wedding day he describes as being “a bit hazy, after a drink or two in the morning”), he mentions the double win at Spa in 1998. The two Jordan cars, driven by Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher, came home first and second respectively after many of the other drivers crashed out in the pouring rain. Eddie is “apprehensive” about the final race of this season, over in Japan, having picked up some points at Indianapolis last weekend, with a seventh place for Giancarlo Fisichella. “It could go either way. With a good race, we could end up fifth in the constructors, but with a poor result, we’ll have done crap this year”. He feels under “a lot of pressure” at the moment, since the Jordan car this season has not been as good as he had hoped, with engine failures, and only one “glimmer at Brazil” (Fisichella won that particular race much earlier in the year.). When I ask him finally whether he can look at his life objectively and be happy with it, he answers with a wry smile that “maybe when I’m old and infirm I’ll be able to look back on it all and be very, very proud,” but he makes it clear that the stress, and the pressure which he’s already mentioned, makes for an unusually up-and-down emotional life. He claims that he’s “unemployable,” could only ever be his own boss, but as I leave him in his razor-sharp suit, tie slightly loosened, working away into the night at his desk, the burden of such dedication is unmistakable. Yet “irrepressible” is a word often used to describe Eddie Jordan, and I am sure that the good times won’t be long in returning, and he will be enjoying himself again soon.ARCHIVE: 0th Week MT2003last_img