Nick Heidfeld appears to have landed a Formula One reprieve, having extended his testing agreement with Jordan Grand Prix into a race deal for 2004.

The German appeared to be following countryman, and former Sauber team-mate, Heinz-Harald Frentzen out of Formula One when he was dropped by the Swiss team at the end of 2003 but, after insisting that he still had a lot to offer, negotiated himself a testing deal with Jordan for the pre-Christmas outings in Spain. Now, without having so much as turned a wheel in anger for the Silverstone-based outfit, Heidfeld has moved into pole position for a race seat in 2004.

The deal carries one proviso, however - Heidfeld or the team must come up with the required funds to guarantee his place in the line-up. The agreement as it stands carries a clause that allows Jordan to back out of the deal should the finance not be in place prior to the season starting, but both Heidfeld and the team's commercial staff are currently speaking to sponsors, with Jordan scouring the Far East in an attempt to discover new revenue sources to add to CCTV, which joined the team in 2003.

The second seat at the team remains open, with current sponsor Benson & Hedges thought to again be pushing for a British presence. This could be good news for current incumbent Ralph Firman, and also for Justin Wilson, who learned last night that he would not be required to partner Mark Webber in the Jaguar team. Irish driver Richard Lyons is also thought to be in the frame, having impressed in Formula Nippon this season. Outside of the Brits, both Frentzen and Jos Verstappen offer a veteran option for Jordan.



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