Wurz in a tight spot at McLaren

Alex Wurz's future as a McLaren test driver is looking increasingly tenuous

Wurz in a tight spot at McLaren

amid reports that he does not fit Adrian Newey's latest chassis.
Wurz has admitted that when he first tried a mock-up model of the MP4/20 for size a month ago he realised he wouldn't be able to fit in the cockpit. The lanky Austrian initially faced a similar problem with the MP4/19A last November, and was unable to resume his normal testing duties until a new batch of chassis became available in January.

"What happened last year was a mistake in the construction of the first few cars and then it was all corrected in time for me to test for two months before the start of the season," explained Wurz. "This time the smaller cockpit is what the project said, and even though I can fit in the cockpit and drive the car - as far as I could tell from trying the model in the factory - there's no way I'll be able to do any longer runs or get a proper feel for the car, so cramped am I inside the cockpit.

"What I need to be done in order to be able to fit properly in the car and be able to test in a proper way is not a lot but requires some work from the team. I already know I won't fit in the first few cars that will be made, but I can continue testing with the MP4/19B.

"I hope as soon as the team starts making more chassis, for the test team, they'll be able to build them with more space in the cockpit so that I can have the possibility to work on the development of the MP4/20. But at the moment it's not certain that will be the case."

Wurz's cockpit difficulties are particularly untimely as Mika Hakkinen's name has been thrown into the ring as a possible McLaren test driver in 2005. The Finn, who won back-to-back world titles with the Woking team in 1998-99, has already signed a contract with Mercedes-Benz to race in the DTM next year, but the schedule would not preclude him carrying out a limited programme of F1 testing.

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