The 2001 season was believed to be Jordan Racing's best opportunity to be considered one of the teams in Formula One. The reality was it had to absolutely go right as the financial conditions of the team was beginning to be in doubt. Eddie's team would put its best foot forward with its EJ11.
Actually, 2000 was to be Jordan's year. In the fight for Honda engines when the automotive giant returned to Formula One in 2001. Powered by Mugen-Honda engines, Jordan had surprised nearly everyone when they finished third in the Constructors' title fight in 1999. It was expected the momentum and the push of a Honda deal would take Jordan to another level in 2000.
It was not to be. Despite a handful of good results, Jordan would not come close to experiencing the level of achievements garnered the previous season. If anything, the team would experience more deep lows than highs.
Jordan needed the 2000 season. The Honda deal would still take place, but the pressure would be even greater heading into 2001. Though the pressure was on, Eddie had some very talented people to turn to to make the best of the opportunity.
Jordan had Eghbal Hamidy at the helm of the design department and he would be tasked to build a competitive car around the new works 3.0-liter, 82 degree, Honda V10. Besides designing a chassis to make the most of the powerplant, a new gearbox would be created as well. Gone would be the six-speed transmission of the EJ10. Instead, a Lubrax, longitudinal, seven-speed system would be incorporated into the design.
Very little would be held in common between the EJ11 and its predecessor, and many undoubtedly believed this to be a good thing. The most obvious departure would be the very high nose utilized on the EJ11. Though sloped downward, the top line of the nose design would be entirely flat. This, and the use of inverted 'V'-shaped pillars and drooping front wing made for a large open area through which air could pass on its way to the all important splitter situated under the driver's legs.
Behind the tall splinter under the driver's legs there would be a good deal the same from the EJ10 to the EJ11, but with some slight differences. The tall sidepods would receive some sculpting, particularly in the area of the radiator inlet. To either side of the driver's head would be the impact protection with the vertical fin to help control the airflow. As with the EJ10, the airbox and engine cover would be a steep, straight drop to the back of the car. Side flicks would again be a part of the bodywork just ahead of the rear tires, though they would be altered slightly. To top it all off, the exhaust exists for the V10 engine would be out of the top of the bodywork just to either side of the tightly packaged engine cover.
Utilizing Bridgestone tires and carbon-fiber disc brakes, the EJ11 would be quick right out of the box. All throughout testing the car would be right up near the top of the timesheets, if not at the top. The situation looked good for Eddie Jordan and his drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli. Both Frentzen and Trulli looked forward to the season with great optimism. It appeared Jordan would retake its place among the best in Formula One.
The first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, would start out strong enough in qualifying, but the race would be a let down. In fact, this would be the story throughout the year. The EJ11 would be among the very best over short distances, as with qualifying. However, over the whole of a grand prix the car would fade and there appeared absolutely nothing the drivers could do to rectify the situation.
Of course, there would be some issues with drivers that would only amplify the struggles with the car and within the team. The remaining third of the season would see Frentzen fired and replaced with Jean Alesi. This would do little to nothing to stop the bleeding the team was experiencing toward the latter-half of the year. Frentzen had started out the season with three points-paying finishes in the first four races. Over the course of his next six races he would manage no better than 7th. It would be only minimally better for Trulli as he would earn three points-paying results in the first five races. However, over the remaining twelve rounds he would manage just two finishes in the points. What would make matters worse, Trulli would suffer seven retirements and a disqualification.
As with Jordan itself, the EJ11 would be a story of unfulfilled potential. When first seen and tested, Frentzen believed he could challenge for the championship. However, by the end of the season, much like Jordan itself, it would be struggling just to show. Sadly, what was to be Jordan's year turned into another year of disappointment and really marked the downhill run to the team's eventual demise.By Jeremy McMullen
The drivers for the 2001 season was Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli. Mounted mid-ship was a Honda RAE001E ten-cylinder engine that produced 800 horsepower. Though not able to best their 1999 season, they were able to beat the other BAR teams that were powered by Honda engines. The driver Frentzen was fired and replaced with Frenchman Jean Alesi.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2006