Struggling Benetton driver Alex Wurz was "extremely disappointed" to qualify only 13th for the Italian Grand Prix, yet his team bosses offered the Austrian some rare praise
Wurz did not run at all in the two Saturday morning practice sessions thanks to a fuel system problem. He switched to the T-car for qualifying and initially languished towards the very back of the grid. However, a late charge saw him leap up to 13th place in the final minute, only four places and 0.4s behind team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella despite his problems.
Benetton will not be retaining Wurz's services in 2001, replacing the Austrian with ousted Williams driver Jenson Button. Team boss Flavio Briatore has been heavily critical of Wurz on several occasions in 2000, but was impressed by his performance at Monza.
"Alex did an extremely good job given the difficult circumstances he experienced today," said Briatore. "I am quite satisfied with the results today and we are confident we can pull up some places in the race."
However, Wurz was still despondent.
"I am very upset, maybe more than I have ever been in my Formula One career," he said. "This is a circuit I really like and where I'm usually really fast, but with the fuel system problem I had this morning I didn't even manage one lap on low fuel.
"I ran the T-car in qualifying and it didn't behave as I would have liked at all. I'm extremely disappointed."
Wurz faces an uncertain future. Although there are still drives available at Prost, Sauber, Minardi and Arrows for next season, the Austrian has not been strongly linked with any of these positions and may be forced to leave Formula One altogether. He has yet to finish in the points in 2000.
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