JANUARY 20, 2004
The future of Alexander Wurz
McLaren's third driver Alexander Wurz has not been seen in action in Formula 1 testing this year, the Austrian's last test for the team having been at Jerez in early December. It was at that test that Wurz discovered that he cannot drive the car because there is no room for his knees inside the monocoque. Since then testing has been done by Pedro de la Rosa and the two regular race drivers Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard.
There are now rumours in Woking that McLaren is planning to use Darren Turner for more tests and Wurz is becoming increasingly frustrated that he is not able to test. There have even been rumours that Wurz wants out of his Mclaren contract so that he can go and race elsewhere in F1. Wurz's sights seem to be set on Jordan and with substantial sponsorship available to him from Austra's Superfund Wurz could be a quiet contender for the drive.
It is likely that whoever gets the Jordan drive will need to have at least $6m in sponsorship as this is the amount of money which is being put up by Benson & Hedges if Jordan takes a British driver. Our sources suggest that Wurz might be able to raise this kind of money from Superfund and as the problems at McLaren are not his fault, he may be able to get out of the deal.
It is not the first time that McLaren has built a car which did not fit the driver. Nigel Mansell was hired in 1995 but he had to miss the first two races of the year because he was unable to fit into the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10. A new car was built but Mansell declared it undriveable and parked the car during the Spanish GP, which led to an announcement just before the Monaco Grand Prix that the British driver would not be continuing.
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