McLaren Hand Wurz Offer to Jaguar

Austrian Alexander Wurz has been handed the chance to join Jaguar Racing as a replacement for Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia by his McLaren-Mercedes team boss Ron Dennis.

McLaren Hand Wurz Offer to Jaguar

Austrian Alexander Wurz has been handed the chance to join Jaguar Racing as a replacement for Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia by his McLaren-Mercedes team boss Ron Dennis.

"We were approached by Jaguar. They really didn't wait for a response before approaching Alexander, which was not particularly correct," he said. "We have made a proposal to Jaguar that could see Alexander leave and go to Jaguar. We think it's a very balanced proposal and it's for them to decide whether to accept it or not."

Jaguar approached McLaren two weeks ago to discuss the availability of McLaren test driver Wurz after openly complaining about the performances of their rookie driver Pizzonia in the opening four races.

Pizzonia is understood to be racing for his Formula One future at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix and, after a difficult opening two days, his chances of staying in the sport's top level have dipped with McLaren's offer.

Dennis, however, is concerned that the loss of 29-year-old Wurz could harm the team's Championship chances this season because they would miss his skills at developing the new MP4-18 machine.

"We have considered the position and we have made a proposal to Jaguar that could see Alex join them but it is not negotiable and it is a fair reflection of what we believe he is worth," said Dennis. "We have always had a provision with our third driver of never standing in the way of their race careers so we have made the position clear."

Pizzonia only made his Formula One debut with Jaguar at the Australian Grand Prix in March after working as a test driver for Williams-BMW, but he has given his hopes of retaining his drive little help so far this weekend.

He suffered two spins in the opening testing session on Friday and then crashed into one of his mechanics, forcing the unfortunate team member to fly home with concussion after a visit to hospital.

Pizzonia has been outqualified by Australian Mark Webber in all but one of the races this year, and one insider suggested it is almost certain he will go. Pizzonia finished seven tenths behind the Australian at Barcelona on Saturday and admitted: "I am a bit disappointed because I think we were looking good this morning. I am trying to put the speculation out of my mind but it is difficult."

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