Ralph Firman believes he can prove a Formula One point this season – as long as he is handed the chance by Eddie Jordan.
The 28-year-old’s hopes of grabbing the last vacancy on the grid were boosted today when Dutchman Jos Verstappen insisted his talks with Jordan were over - and for good this time.
Firman is hoping the team chief who gave him his grand prix breakthrough last year will now turn to him – and he insists he will not let the Irishman down.
“I have a lot to prove – but I am confident I can do it if I get the chance,” Firman said today.
“Last year was difficult, given all the circumstances there were with the car. But you would see a very different performance from me this year now I have got a season’s experience under my belt.
“It would be great to partner Nick Heidfeld, whom I beat when I won the F3 race in Macau in 1996.
“He is a good driver, and we would make a great team – and this year’s car looks really good.
“I’ve seen the latest news about Verstappen – and all I can do is keep my fingers crossed. I have been keeping in touch with Eddie, so we will just have to see what happens.”
Firman, who scored one point last year, added: “Something will have to happen soon, because we should be heading to Melbourne (for the opening grand prix) in a couple of weeks.
“It’s frustrating just waiting – but I just have to hang on and do all I can to get that last seat. I have been keeping myself very fit just in case.”
Allan McNish will also be hoping the latest development in the Verstappen saga will increase his chances of returning to the starting grid after a debut season with Toyota in 2002.
Verstappen has announced he has “definitively” ended all negotiations with Jordan over the last remaining drive for this season.
Jordan insisted at the launch of the EJ14 at Silverstone last Wednesday that Verstappen was still very much in the frame and the car carried the logo of his Dutch sponsors Trust, who are ready to pump over €7m into the team.
But it appears a contract could not be finalised, although Verstappen called off talks a couple of weeks ago before resuming them soon afterwards.
“After exhaustive negotiations concerning all contracts, Trust and the management of Jos have decided to stop negotiations with Jordan definitively,” said a statement.
“In spite of the fact that all parties concerned have done their extreme best, contractual obstacles remained.”