Eddie Irvine’s announcement that he will not compete in F1 this year has added a new twist to the biggest remaining mystery in the sport - who will fill the remaining Jordan seat?

Eddie Irvine’s announcement that he will not compete in F1 this year as added a new twist to the biggest remaining mystery in the sport - who will fill the remaining Jordan seat for 2003?

The former Jordan driver this week said that negotiations with Eddie Jordan broke down.

Irvine was looking forward to returning to Jordan and finishing his career at the team that gave him his chance in F1.

"It's a sad day. I have decided not to drive in Formula One this year - or at least at the moment,” he revealed to the .

"In July last year I made up my mind to drive for Jordan Grand Prix. Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn, Jordan are forced to look for a driver who brings extra funds to the team whilse I can only bring speed, reliability and greater experience. It's a shame because I really would have enjoyed the rule changes, specially single-lap qualifying," he added.

The announcement eliminates one driver from the list of possible contenders to drive alongside Giancarlo Fisichella this season. The Irishman had been the strongest candidate due to his experience and it was thought that Cosworth, the team’s engine supplier, would demand that a British driver fill the remaining spot.

Most observers now predict the announcement of a deal that would link Red Bull and Jordan Grand Prix. CART star Bryan Herta and former Arrows driver Enrique Bernoldi have both been linked to the second Jordan-Ford seat in a deal that relies on Red Bull becoming a major team sponsor of the team.

Red Bull chief executive Dieter Mateschitz has talked of plans to establish an all-American Formula One team, but now has a sponsorship proposal on the table from Eddie Jordan, who lost DHL at the end of last year.

Brazilian Felipe Massa, the current Sauber Petronas test driver who is believed to be contracted to the team’s engine suppliers, Ferrari, and Minardi’s 2002 stand-in driver Anthony Davidson, from Britain, are also considered to be candidates for the second spot.

Original article from Car