Dutch veteran Jos Verstappen has confirmed that he is investigating all avenues to remaining on the Formula One grid next season, despite missing out on the Jaguar drive that he coveted until news of Christian Klien's deal surfaced.

Verstappen had been hoping that substantial sponsorship from his native Holland would swing him the seat alongside Mark Webber for 2004 but, having lost out to F3 ace Klien's Red Bull backing, is now switching his attention to the remaining seats on the grid - at Jordan and 2003 employer Minardi respectively.

"It is disappointing that we were not able to conclude a deal [with Jaguar]," Verstappen wrote on his personal website earlier this month, "Not just for me but also for my sponsors who have done everything possible to get me that Jaguar seat. I would like to thank Wilux, Halfords and, especially, Trust's Michel Perridon and Har Muermans of Muermans Realty for all their efforts, but we couldn't compete with companies like Red Bull."

Both Jordan and Minardi currently appear to have one seat vacant, having agreed deals with Nick Heidfeld and Gianmaria Bruni respectively, although the Silverstone team is dependant on finding sufficient finance to run former Sauber man Heidfeld in 2004. Verstappen's sponsors have revealed that they have talked to both teams about a ride next season, and representatives Michel Perridon and Raymond Vermeulen have further meetings planned for this coming week.

"During the recent Minardi event at Donington, we arranged a meeting with [team boss] Paul Stoddart for this coming Tuesday," Vermeulen confirmed, "while the first talks with Jordan actually took place as long ago as the Italian Grand Prix [in September]. We have been planning to meet with them again, and will do so on Wednesday.

"Now is the time well to look more closely at the Jordan team - to see what its prospects are and what it can offer Jos for next season. It is not only a question of what we can offer Jordan [in terms of sponsorship] - it has to be looked at from the perspective of both parties."

Although Vermeulen would not comment on the likely outcome of either meeting, he admitted that a swift conclusion was his hope.

"We all know how unpredictable Formula One can be," he smiled, "Perhaps we will have a deal this week, or perhaps it will be in time for Christmas. Then again, it may not happen until January or later."

Verstappen remains confident that he will be on the grid with one or other team next season, and paid tribute to the support of his sponsors.

"Michel Perridon and I have spoken about things and we are very confident that I will be on the grid in 2004," he said after missing out on the Jaguar deal, "I don't have to convince anyone of my talent but, unfortunately, decisions are not taken just on talent - as we have seen again today.

"With my service record, and the support of my sponsors, I am sure we can do it. I have known Michel Perridon and Har Muermans long enough to be certain about that. If you only knew how much they had done to allow me to have joined Jaguar. I am sure we will succeed in getting a seat for next season."

 

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