Herbert hangs on to helmet

Johnny Herbert aims to continue his racing career despite his new job restoring Jordan’s battered reputaton.

Johnny Herbert aims to continue his racing career despite his new job restoring Jordan’s battered reputaton.

Herbert, who won three grands prix in a long Formula One career, has been recruited as Jordan’s new sporting relations manager and has been charged with improving public perception of the team’s new regime.

The Midland group and Jordan managing director Colin Kolles have suffered a stream of negative rumours since taking over the team last winter, prompting them to bring in Herbert as a spokesman.

Despite returning to Formula One in an off-track role, Herbert has no plans to hang up his helmet just yet, although he will resist any move for him to test Jordan’s struggling car in a bid to improve performance.

He said: “I am at Jordan for the long term but I am still wanting to race and I’ve got something coming on.

“I’ve always had an interest in NASCAR and it’s something I have been working on for a year and I don’t know where that’s going to end up.

“If it does happen that will restrict a little bit what I do but I am still going to be involved with it whatever happens. The racing is still a part of my life it is something I can still do.”

Asked whether he will get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car again, he added: “It’s been spoken about but I don’t think it should be the role that I am trying to do.

“I don’t think I should be the guy that’s getting in it just because I have more experience than our drivers. That’s not my role.”

The 41-year-old does not see his current role as a precursor to a move into team management, admitting: “I don’t think I am the right character to take control of a team.”

Herbert, who secured his new role before last month’s British Grand Prix, admits Midland’s rebuilding of the team will take time and cautioned against high expectations for their first season under the new banner.

Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro finished 12th and 13th – the last two finishers – in yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Herbert conceding improvement will be no easy feat and warning against empty promises of success.

“I know there are things that are going to make it change,” he said. “We all know that we can not guarantee it is going to be a more successful season.

“It is getting the structure sorted – all the people who had left has left a hole. Once

that is filled you then need to get it all gelled together to move forward.

“But we have still got to fill that hole and that is going to take time, but that time starts now.

“I could tell you a lot of stuff about the future, wanting to get up the grid and so on, but you have to do that, you can’t just say it. Unfortunately in this game it is not just talk.

“This year we are not going to see us getting up the grid because we have a car that is two years old – you could paint it in gold leaf but the gold leaf would never stick, it would always fall off.

“So the investment has really got to go towards what they are going to do next year.”

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