Weighing in at 170 lb, Ralph Firman looks to be the latest addition to the F1 paddock, if reports are to be believed. So who is this Englishman? Crash.net investigates.

Born on the 20th May 1975 in Norwich, England, Firman waited until he was ten years old before the motorsport bug really bit after he received a kart for his birthday. "I started as a hobby when my parents brought me a Go-kart when I was 10 years old, after that I was just racing in England and started to win many races and so it went on from there," Firman explains on his personal website.

In 1986 Firman made his kart racing debut and by 1990 he was the British Junior Kart series champion. Moving up to senior karts he won three races in his first season and the championship in his second year.

From there he moved into cars and took part in the Formula Vauxhall Junior championship winning nine races and setting ten pole positions; a pretty impressive debut. The following year, 1994 he dovetailed Formula Vauxhall with International Formula three, where he was rated as being 'Rookie of the year."

In 1995 he came second in the British F3 Championship and won the Marlboro Masters International conest. The following year he went one better in the UK and took the F3 championship, and at the end of the season won the prestigous Macau GP for good measure.

Now the difficult decision was where next? Before the days of Jenson Button's impressive move straight from F3 to F1 the options were F3000, if the money could be found, or to move to Japan. Firman opted for the latter and from 1997 until last year he competed in the Formula Nippon championship.

Driving for TMS in his first year before heading to Nova then finally the PIAA Nakajima team of ex-Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima Firman notched up the title in the championship in last year.

Firman lists his favourite racing driver as being the late, great, Aryton Senna, and his favourite food as the F1 drivers standard dish of pasta. He may, however, be coming to Jordan a little late, depending on who Eddie finally gets to sponsor the team, as his favourite colour is yellow.

If he wasn't a racing driver Firman reckons he'd be playing golf, and his most memorable race so far, according to his website, was winning the Macau GP. Ralph has been in an F1 car some three times, most recently testing for the BAR concern last December.

Firman won't be the first driver to go straight from racing in Japan to racing for the Jordan Formula One team as it's exactly what Eddie Irvine did all those years ago. Now Eddie's left F1 lets hope Firman has as prosperous an F1 career ahead of him.