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Alexander Wurz
Autosport Plus
Interview

How a legendary F1 tester who turned down Ferrari became a key mover and shaker

A BMX world champion at the age of 12, podium finisher for Benetton and Williams in Formula 1, serial test jockey for some of Adrian Newey’s most outlandish car designs, and a double Le Mans winner – Alex Wurz packed a lot into a racing career. And, as STUART CODLING reveals, he’s still one of F1’s most influential voices today as chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association

There are those who used to say former driver Alex Wurz ruined Formula 1. He was, after all, among the key architects of the halo – back when it was fashionable among the opinionati to heap ordure upon a safety development that has now saved several lives (and, as Alex says, “hasn’t lost a single fan”). It’s little wonder that a man who still holds the record for the fastest F1 accident of all time – he was travelling at 189mph when an incorrectly mounted tyre burst at a Paul Ricard test – should be an advocate of safety, with a firm grip on the baton once held by Sir Jackie Stewart.

Why, you ask, does a driver who retired from F1 16 years ago still quietly wield so much influence? Because he’s respected by all the people who matter, from the championship’s stakeholders and power-brokers to the competitors themselves. Being the GPDA chairman is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it…

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