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Alexander Wurz (born February 15, 1974 in Waidhofen an der Thayamarker, Lower Austriamarker) is an Austrianmarker racing driver. Hecompeted in Formula One from 1997 until 2007, and is also a two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hoursmarker.

He is currently test driver for the Brawn GPmarker team for the 2009 Formula One season and also hoped to lead a new team into the 2010 Formula One season.

He is the second son of former rallycross driver Franz Wurz, the European Rallycross Champion in 1974, 1976 and 1982.

Career

Cycling

BMX

Wurz first tasted competition in the BMX World Championship and won it outright in 1986. This gave him an underlying physical fitness suitable for motor racing. In 2000, Wurz returned somewhat to his cycling roots, starting an MTB team with countryman Markus Rainer. The team, Rainer-Wurz.com, is currently sponsored by sponsors McLarenmarker, Siemens, and Cannondale amongst others. They are multiple World Cup winners.

Auto racing

Early career

Like most Formula One drivers, Wurz's motorsport career began with karting. In 1991, Wurz drove in Formula Ford. In 1993, he switched to the German Formula Three Championship. From 1996, Wurz drove an Opel Calibra for the Joest Racing touring car team in the DTM. Also in 1996, Wurz, together with Davy Jones and Manuel Reuter, won the Le Mans 24 Hoursmarker and in so doing became the youngest ever winner of the 24-hour race. He still holds the record to this day.

Formula One

Benetton (1997-2000)


Wurz's Formula One debut was on June 15, 1997 at Montreal for Benetton filling in for fellow Austrian Gerhard Berger, who couldn't race due to illness. Wurz impressed with a podium position in his third race before returning to being a test driver upon Berger's return to the cockpit at the German Grand Prix, which Berger won.

However, Wurz was rewarded with a full-time race seat for the 1998 season with Benetton and spent three more seasons at the team, partnered each year by Giancarlo Fisichella. A strong start to 1998 suggested a bright future, and even attracted the interest of Ferrari , but the three-season stint at Benetton turned out to be a disappointment. Toward the end of his Benetton time, Fisichella produced better results.

Racer to tester (2001-2006)
Unable to find a race seat at a leading team for , he took on the role of third (i.e., test) driver for McLarenmarker.

In April 2005, with Juan Pablo Montoya injured, Wurz drove for McLaren in the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, finishing fourth in the race, but taking third place after both BAR-Honda drivers were disqualified. This gave him a unique record. No other driver has had such a long gap between podiums. Wurz went eight years. His drive at Imolamarker was all the more notable because he was still not comfortable in the car, and at times had to drive with one hand.

Since his signing to McLaren as test driver, Wurz had been eager to return to racing. At various times during this time he was linked in rumours to a return to a full race seat. His large size for a Formula One driver (186 cm/6'1.5") has perhaps been a factor that has not helped. In fact, because they were so sure he would be driving for Austrianmarker-owned Red Bull Racing in , the designers at McLarenmarker neglected to allow for his size, meaning he could not physically fit in the car. In he was strongly linked to a race seat at Jaguar, where the under-fire Antônio Pizzonia was struggling. However, McLaren were struggling with their abortive new car and blocked the move to retain Alex's excellent technical and development skills. Jaguar then decided to give Pizzonia more time to prove himself, before drafting in Justin Wilson.

Williams (2007)


Alexander Wurz signed a deal with WilliamsF1 to become the team's official test and reserve driver at the beginning of 2006. He drove the third car at all Grand Prix Fridays in . It was announced on 3 August 2006 that Wurz would replace Mark Webber as a race driver at Williams for the season. This was Wurz's first full time race drive since 2000, and his team mate was Nico Rosberg. At the Monaco GP on 27 May 2007, Wurz scored his first points for the Williams F1 team, finishing in 7th place after qualifying 11th. He came 3rd for the 3rd time in his F1 career at the Canadian GP on 10 June 2007, staying out of trouble from 19th on the grid in an action packed race. He actually damaged his rear wing early on in the race, but battled against it and finished on the podium. He nearly repeated this at the European Grand Prix, but just didn't make it past Mark Webber at the final chicane. That race turned of to be Wurz's last points finish and especially from now on, team mate Rosberg distanced him. The Qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, where Rosberg started from 16th on the grid, although he lost 10 places due to an engine change in practice, and Wurz started even further back in 18th without been putted further back on the grid.On October 8, 2007 Wurz announced his immediate retirement from Formula One, meaning that the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix was his final race.

The official Formula One website announced that "Williams driver Alexander Wurz has confirmed that he is to retire from Formula One racing with immediate effect". Wurz himself also released a statement saying "I would like to thank my family and fans, everyone at AT&T Williams and my previous teams, as well as the media, for all of their support during my Formula One racing career. I may race again, perhaps in Le Mans or other categories and certainly some of my time will now be committed to the very important subject of road safety." The 33-year old cited doubts over his own commitment as the main reason for his departure despite having a relatively successful season racing with Williams.

He was replaced by Williams test driver Kazuki Nakajima for the final race of the 2007 season in Brazil.

Honda and Peugeot (2008-present)


Wurz was the Honda F1 test driver for the 2008 Formula One season. , a role he kept on the transition to Brawn GP.

He also signed with Peugeot to be part of their driving squad for the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mansmarker and he also participated 1000km of Spa in the Le Mans Series.

In 2009, together with Marc Gene and David Brabham, he took outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, driving a works Peugeot. The 13-year gap between Wurz's victories is the largest in the event's history.

Team Management

Team Superfund

Wurz announced on May 31, 2009, that he has lodged an entry for his own team into Formula One. Team Superfund is one of several new applicants hoping to compete in the sport from the 2010 season onwards. It is believed that Wurz would prefer to align the team with an existing constructor based in the UK, perhaps renting space, facilities and staff from its factory, while Superfund takes time to build-up its own headquarters, possibly based on existing resources in Austria. The team would be funded by Christian Baha, the owner of the Superfund Group, and the cars would be powered by Cosworth engines.

Personal life

Wurz is married to Julia and has three sons, Charlie, Felix and Oscar (b. September 30, 2007). He used to race with different coloured boots on each foot, but since his return to racing in 2007, he wears matching pairs.

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
1992 German Formula Ford 1600 ? ? ? ? ? 1st
1993 Austrian Formula Three ? ? ? ? ? 1st
German Formula Three RSM Marko 16 0 0 27 13th
Masters of Formula Three RSM Marko 1 0 0 N/A 17th
1994 German Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 19 1 3 219 2nd
Macau Grand Prix G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 15th
Grand Prix de Monaco F3 G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 10th
Masters of Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 26th
1995 German Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 15 0 0 74 6th
British Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 4 21st
Macau Grand Prix G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 7th
Grand Prix de Monaco F3 G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 6th
Masters of Formula Three ? 1 0 0 N/A NC
1996 International Touring Car Championship Opel Team Joest 20 0 0 43 16th
Le Mans 24 Hours Joest Racing (LMP1) 1 0 1 N/A 1st
1997 Formula One Benetton 3 0 0 4 14th
FIA GT Championship AMG Mercedes 10 5 1 25 10th
1998 Formula One Benetton 16 0 0 17 8th
1999 Formula One Benetton 16 0 0 3 13th
2000 Formula One Benetton 17 0 0 2 15th
2001 Formula One McLarenmarker Test driver
2002 Formula One McLarenmarker Test driver
2003 Formula One McLarenmarker Test driver
2004 Formula One McLarenmarker Test driver
2005 Formula One McLarenmarker 1 0 0 6 17th
2006 Formula One Williams Test driver
2007 Formula One Williams 16 0 0 13 11th
2008 Formula One Honda Racing F1 Test driver
2009 Formula One Brawn GPmarker Test driver
Le Mans 24 Hours Peugeot Sport (LMP1) 1 0 1 N/A 1st


Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 WDC Points
1997 Mild Seven Benetton Renaultmarker Benetton B197 Renaultmarker RS9 3.0 V10 AUS

BRA

ARG

SMR

MON

ESP

CAN

Ret
FRA

Ret
GBR

3
GER

HUN

BEL

ITA

AUT

LUX

JPN

EUR

14th 4
1998 Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Benetton B198 Playlife GC37-01 3.0 V10 AUS

7
BRA

4
ARG

4
SMR

Ret
ESPmarker

4
MON

Ret
CAN

4
FRA

5
GBR

4
AUT

9
GER

11
HUN

Ret
BEL

Ret
ITA

Ret
LUX

7
JPN

9
8th 17
1999 Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Benetton B199 Playlife FB01 3.0 V10 AUS

Ret
BRA

7
SMR

Ret
MON

6
ESP

10
CAN

Ret
FRA

Ret
GBR

10
AUT

5
GER

7
HUN

7
BEL

14
ITA

Ret
EUR

Ret
MAL

8
JPN

10
13th 3
2000 Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Benetton B200 Playlife FB02 3.0 V10 AUS

7
BRA

Ret
SMR

9
GBR

9
ESP

10
EUR

12
MON

Ret
CAN

9
FRA

Ret
AUT

10
GER

Ret
HUN

11
BEL

13
ITA

5
USA

10
JPN

Ret
MAL

7
15th 2
2005 Team McLarenmarker Mercedes McLarenmarker MP4-20 Mercedes FO 110R 3.0 V10 AUS

MAL

BHR

TD
SMR

3
ESP

MON

TD
EUR

TD
CAN

USA

FRA

GBR

GER

TD
HUN

TD
TURmarker

ITA

BEL

TD
BRA

TD
JPN

CHN

17th 6
2006 WilliamsF1 Team Williams FW28 Cosworth CA2006 2.4

V8 4 Series
BHR

TD
MAL

TD
AUS

TD
SMR

TD
EUR

TD
ESP

TD
MON

TD
GBR

TD
CAN

TD
USA

TD
FRA

TD
GER

TD
HUN

TD
TURmarker

TD
ITA

TD
CHN

TD
JPN

TD
BRA

TD
- -
2007 AT&T Williams Williams FW29 Toyota RVX-07 2.4 V8 AUS

Ret
MAL

9
BHR

11
ESPmarker

Ret
MON

7
CAN

3
USA

10
FRA

14
GBR

13
EUR

4
HUN

14
TURmarker

11
ITA

13
BEL

Ret
JPN

Ret
CHN

12
BRA

11th 13
Note: From to : Test driver for Team McLarenmarker, but not a part of the race weekends.

References

  1. Alex Wurz Homepage, Access: 2007-06-10
  2. F1 Racing magazine, December 1997, pg 46
  3. Wurz retirement statement
  4. Wurz is father for third time - Racing news and opinions - Auto123.com - Canadian automotive network


External links




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