Exclusive: McLaren Prepare for Wurz

McLaren are pulling out all the stops to try and get Alexander Wurz into their third car for the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix, in the wake of Juan Pablo Montoya's likely absence, Autosport-Atlas can reveal

With Montoya likely to miss the next race of the Championship in Bahrain after fracturing his shoulder in a tennis accident at the weekend, insiders have told Autosport-Atlas that the team's engineers have now been instructed to speed up modifications to the MP4-20 chassis so Wurz can run the third car in Sakhir.

Austrian Wurz is too tall to fit into the current version of the MP4-20, which is why he has missed much of the development work with the new car and why Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa was handed the third driver role for the first three races of the season.

It is understood that workers will be called back to the factory on Easter Monday to help with the modifications to McLaren's third car - with de la Rosa almost certain to be handed the race seat as soon as Montoya's absence is officially confirmed.

McLaren have been working on modifying the cockpit to fit Wurz's frame ever since it became clear that he had a problem with the car. That work had originally been due to be completed in time for the next test in Barcelona, after the Bahrain Grand Prix, but will now be hastened.

With the Bahrain event being a flyaway, the work to accommodate Wurz will need to be completed much earlier than if the race was a normal European event.

Beyond Wurz, there are not many options available to McLaren for a third driver. Briton Darren Turner has helped in recent seasons with testing work and could be a remote possibility, as would former Toyota F1 driver, Allan McNish.

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