Jordan 191 - A Car That Schumacher Drove on his F1 Debut
The Jordan 191 was the first car constructed by Jordan team that later became famous after Michael Schumacher drove it on his debut in Formula 1.
New team needed a new car
When he ended his modest racing career, Irishman Eddie Jordan decided to set up his own team in the late 1980s and he was successful in F3000. Encouraged by good results in lower tiers, Jordan soon established Jordan Grand Prix team because he wanted to run in the Formula 1 World Championship.
Gary Anderson was hired to design a new car that was supposed to be ready for the start of 1991 season. The result of his work was quite conventional and a simple car was built with just one really unusual feature – the front wing that was extended beyond the raised nose. Originally, the new car, named Jordan 191, had to be powered by Judd V8 engine but it ended with the Ford-Cosworth engine.
Five drivers shared the seats of two Jordan 191s
The new car was painted in green, after two main sponsors – 7 Up soft drink and camera film company Fuji. The experienced Italian Andrea De Cesaris and Belgian Bertrand Gachot were named as the drivers but over the season three more drivers had an opportunity to drive a Jordan 191 – Roberto Moreno, Alex Zanardi, and talented German youngster Michael Schumacher who will later win 7 titles.
Interestingly, Schumacher debuted in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa after Gachot was imprisoned for assaulting a cab driver. Schumacher received a bonus of $150 000 from his employer Mercedes-Benz which wanted to give him a new experience. Michael impressed after finishing 7th in the qualification but retired from the race on the first lap due because he had a problem with the clutch. Jordan team wanted to keep Schumi until the end of the season but he already was on the way to Benetton.
Jordan 191 had a solid F1 season but will be remembered after its livery
At the end of 1991 season, Jordan Grand Prix finished 5th in the Constructors’ Championship with 13 points, which was a very good result for the rookie team. De Cesaris scored in four out of 16 races, with the 4th place in Canada, and later in Mexico, as the best results before taking the 9th place in the Drivers’ championship. Gachot scored thrice out of 10 starts and his best result was the 5th position in the Canadian Grand Prix. The other three drivers didn’t score points.
Despite its relatively modest results, Jordan 191 still has a special place in the history of Formula 1 after being considered as one of the cars with the most beautiful livery. The Autosport magazine named Jordan 191 as the Racing Car of the Year.