Like most Irishmen he’s got the gift of the gab. He’s also got the gift of the gaffe, which is why we love him so much…
The label ‘legend’ is a very overused term in sports journalism - and Eddie Jordan is not one of them. But he is responsible for some classic footage on the BBC both good and bad and the kind of questions you could set A-level English language students to determine their exact meaning. For instance…
Talking to Sebastien Buemi on the grid before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: “Sebastien, what’s the upturn on this car like?”
The sequence in Abu Dabi where EJ was talking to Paul McCartney was a classic. Although the BBC team had a lot of fun with it afterwards, they didn’t pick up on it at the time. For those who missed the broadcast, Eddie Jordan had just got famous living Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, to sign his Indian shirt (which would go on to make a staggering £107,000 for charity). Paul was in Abu Dhabi to perform a concert as part of the GP weekend and bumped into the BBC team in the paddock. After he signed the shirt Eddie muttered “Thanks George”. Eddie realised what he’d just done and grinned guiltily to the camera wondering if he was going to get away with it. “George Harrison was always big into motorsport,” was EJ’s defence when they replayed the tape.
Eddie talking to Pirelli chief Paul Hembery at Spa. Eddie really meant to say, “Paul, you’ve given the team some advice.”
What he actually said was: “Paul, you’ve made certain advisory packages toward the teams.”
OffonF1 has christened him ‘The Bard of Bray’ and there was certainly the poetic juxtaposition of formal meaning at Interlagos.
Jake Humphrey: “Rubens said yesterday it felt like a qualifying lap”
Eddie: “In actual fact, bearing in mind that the car’s been languoring around at the back for such a long time, it was like a pole lap.”
The combination of ‘languishing’ and ‘languor’ to form ‘languoring’ was inspired
The jury is still out on what Eddie was talking about at Silverstone during the British GP. “It’s this race that’s the no man go area.”
Eddie failing to find the word ‘capitalised’ at Silverstone: “Ferrari, they’ve not captivated on anything they’ve done this year.”
Eddie was full of vivid imagery about Felipe Massa’s predicament of being consistently slower than Fernando Alonso when F1 visited the Nurburgring. “He has to deliver and he must start doing that very soon, or the big queries will start crawling all over him again.”
Eddie talking about why there were six German drivers on the grid (and seven in practice) for the German GP:
“Michael Schumacher turned this into a car steeped in F1 talent…”
He meant “country”.
Eddie Jordan interviewed Vijay Mallya in India and EJ showed a surprisingly nervous side: “Thanks Jake, EJ Jordan here with Vijay Mallya. A lot of things similar here – not only does he own the DNA of the Jordan team but people confuse us, they think we look alike.”
They looked alike in that they both had beards and were over 50.
Eddie then delivered an epic question…? “A couple of years ago when you came into the sport you promised us that we would grace the country of India and indeed Delhi its capital. This is it. Perhaps. You know. Is that moment…has it realised upon you yet? That you’re here pinching yourself. We have Formula 1 here in India…?
The comedy of embarrassment was to the fore in the Indian GP paddock. Eddie went right back into the Force India enclosure and tried again after the race. He walked up to an Indian man in his fifties wearing a Force India team shirt who was standing near Vijay Mallya.
EJ: You’re a guest of Vijay?
Man dressed in Force India shirt: I am brother of Vijay
EJ: (Very animated and matey) Well then I know your mother. Imagine that, we go to the same Indian restaurant in London.
Man dressed in Force India shirt begins to look nonplussed.
EJ: How cool is that? (Pressing the point and worried now that he’s getting no response)
Vijay: Eddie, this is a brother in Sahara (who’ve just bought half the team), a new partner in Sahara.
EJ: (Without blinking) That’s a pleasure because new sponsors are hard to find.
Eddie after the inaugural Indian GP: “You’re gonna have every PR consultant in India and they will be evaluating the global marketing value that this weekend has put on for this country and when it amasses they will be surprised that when they add up the actual value of that advertorial that we call…that has been given whether it be television, or media, or radio and it will drive people in government to say we’ve got a real opportunity here.”
But the best of all was Eddie’s exchange with Anthony Hamilton in India.
EJ: “Anthony, I’m very confused about Lewis’s new management. In fact I’m disappointed in them. They’re not here. They should be here.”
AH: “They are here.”
EJ: Are they here?
EJ: Well, I take that back…Well…they’re not very evident.
Eddie thought that there was a watershed moment for Jenson Button’s career in Montreal and had many different ways of expressing it after Button won again in Japan:
EJ: “It really turned a page to a new era of what we’ve seen in the past.”
EJ: “You know after Canada he’s just like a young, reborn baby star.”
EJ: “That’s been justified exactly what we saw. He drove his socks in Canada. He’s a new found man.
EJ: “Jenson, sometimes in life you feel a sign? Was dat sign Canada?”
Eddie on the Singapore chicane kerbs:
“I’m seeing the cars launched in the air… which to me looks relatively unsafe.”
“I don’t like it round here because of the bumps. Everybody’s brought up in motor racing to cherish and love and caress the car they’ve got and these cars are not being caressed round here.”
Eddie Jordan in Turkey
“I had a go at pulling some Irish…sorry…ice cream at the back of their motorhome.”
Christian Horner: “Eddie, I haven’t a clue what you said but I’m sure it doesn’t make any difference.”
EJ talking to Ross Brawn talking about the 2012 Mercedes in the Suzuka paddock: “Ross have you got a car into a tunnel position yet?”
EJ talking about Schumi’s ability to make Australian trousers during a grand prix: “Michael has made some very good strides in the last races.” (Apart from the fact that he whacked it into the barriers the previous race).
Eddie at Interlagos again. Can you spot the wrong word? “My guess is that rain is far away. I think it will be a nice, clean, wet race.”
Seb Vettel grinning to EJ about signing his charity shirt while EJ was still wearing it.
Seb: “Michael told me he tried to sign on your willy…”
EJ: “Michael did that before about 20 years ago. We know what you German boys are like. You took me for a poor old paddy, didn’t you…”
Eddie doesn’t know how to say ‘large country’: “We saw the other countries with the big configuration which is Brazil, China and now India…”
And finally, a bit of magic from a qualifying session when Eddie confused ‘the hare and the tortoise’ analogy with ‘the hair of the dog’ saying.
EJ: “Sauber versus Renault and Force India – I’m intrigued with all this. At the moment you have got the hare and the dog…”
Jake: “Eddie, what’s this hare and dog analogy?”
DC: “No wonder his strategy meetings were so confusing – ‘boys we’ve got to be more like the hare and less like the dog’!”
Andrew Davies/Frank Hopkinson/EddieJordansWig@twitter.com (EJW)