Russian-Born Canadian Buys F1 Team

For MTAlexander Shnaider paid an estimated $50 million for the Jordan Formula One team. The team name is set to change next year.
LONDON -- The Jordan Formula One team has been sold to Russian-born billionaire Alex Shnaider for an estimated $50 million.

The team will maintain the Jordan name in 2005, with the Toronto-based Midland Group operating it through a subsidiary, Midland F1, Jordan said Monday. The team name will be changed in 2006, with team owner Eddie Jordan's future unclear. Since winning two races in 1999, the Jordan team has slipped to the back of the 10-team grid and has been struggling to find financing under Eddie Jordan.

Eddie Jordan acknowledged last year he was spending about ?1 million ($1.86 million) of his own money each month to keep the team afloat.

"I wholeheartedly believe that Midland joining with Jordan will make the team stronger," Eddie Jordan said. "The sport and the required resources have changed and this deal provides the team with the security and strength it needs."

Jordan and Midland declined to confirm the purchase price, although industry officials and news reports estimate it at $50 million.

A naturalized Canadian, Shnaider is chairman of the Midland Group, a privately owned international trading and investment-holding organization.

"I'm glad for the time being we keep the Jordan name," Eddie Jordan said. "I am also delighted to confirm that I will remain involved with the team and will be working with Jordan in a variety of commercial and sponsorship capacities as we move forward."

"Of course the team will have a Russian flavor," Shnaider said in October, adding that he hopes to hire F1's first Russian driver and help land a Grand Prix for Russia.

"I do hope eventually there will be a Grand Prix in Russia. It's a large market with a growing middle class and a lot of international companies are looking at it as a future market," he said then.

"Russia would get very positive exposure from staging a Formula One race, and it would be a pleasure for me to be instrumental in making that happen," he added.

In December, Kommersant reported that Midland had hired the grandson of former President Boris Yeltsin as marketing director for its F1 activities.

Kommersant quoted Alexander Radunsky, Midland F1's managing partner for Russia, as saying that Boris Yeltsin Jr., 23, will be mainly in charge of dealing with foreign sponsors and arranging public events to advertise the team.

(AP, MT, Reuters)

From the Web