So Eddie Jordan has finally managed to find a job to keep him out of F1 and I guess that his filming commitments will mean we won’t see him around as much as we have in his BBC phase. Top Gear will be an interesting challenge. He’ll like that. EJ was always partial to a bit of spotlight, with a dash of celebrity on the side. Alongside Chris Evans and Joey from Friends, I must say it all sounds a bit contrived, but let’s see how it works.
I always thought Top Gear clicked and was popular because it gave three quirky boy-next-door types the chance to play with cars. People could relate to grumpy Jeremy, laid back James and the slightly manic Hamster. Whether three famous celebrity types will produce as good a chemistry and as good a show remains to be seen. Still, Eddie can certainly drive and was as quick or quicker than some of the Stigs in his racing days. I didn’t see him race but I was there not long after he became a team boss and, for all his quirks, I still love EJ. I still remember the first words he ever said to me, at Zandvoort in 1983; my first race as a reporter. “What the f@#k are you doing here? I mean what the f@#k is a bloke with a f@#king degree doing in a f@#king pit lane if he isn’t a f@#king engineer?”
And a good day to you too Mr Jordan…
I used to sleep in his F3 trucks sometimes at strange places around Europe. He tells fabulous stories of the things we did together, although I am quite sure I did none of it! That F3 crowd was a happy family, the like of which simply doesn’t exist these days.
Eddie was the little guy who, through his blather, brazen and blarney, took his team to F1 on a shoestring, with the fabulous green dream machine of 1991. Gary’s 191. If I use the word “pretty” now, Mr Anderson will come round and plant one on me, because he always felt that was an insult. “Fast” was good. “Pretty” was only pretty good.
EJ somehow managed to keep his team going when so many others went to the wall, ducking and weaving like a scrum half, and eventually, in league with Honda and Benson and Hedges, he began winning Grands Prix. They were good times, but EJ went a bit fluffy on us and disappeared off into some weird sort of celebrity heaven, forgot how to run racing teams and things went downhill. Still, he was savvy enough to know when to fold and sold out for a fortune at the right moment. He has wheeled and dealed successfully ever since. EJ has the knack.
When he came back to F1 as a TV pundit, it was no great surprise. EJ is gobby and not afraid to say what he thinks and although some didn’t like him, I guess that he suited the modern style of doing things on TV, with exaggerated views, reactions and footwear. Still, I shall miss the silly bastard, but I wish him well in car land. Being an automobile journalist is not an easy job, you have to walk the line between pissing off manufacturers and being honest, and that’s not a piece of cake…
I hope that increased stardom will not take him back to the la-la land he went to in the late 1990s, but he’s older and wiser these days, although I cannot believe I just used the word “wise” in relation to EJ… Smart, fun, cunning, outrageous, mad as a fish… but wise? Hmmmm.