Wurz sticks with McLaren

Alex Wurz has ruled himself out of contention for a Formula 1 race drive with Jaguar Racing by re-signing as McLaren's third driver for next season

Wurz sticks with McLaren

The Austrian has tested for McLaren since losing his race drive with Benetton at the end of 2000. Wurz had admitted that he was keen to return to racing, and was one of the leading contenders to line up alongside Mark Webber at Jaguar.

"It is no secret that I have been on the shortlist for the second race seat at Jaguar Racing, which has been a privilege" said Wurz. "However with West McLaren Mercedes' 2004 testing programme having already begun I feel it necessary to take my future into my own hands so as to fully focus on the season's preparations.

"McLaren is a loyal and rewarding team to be part of and I believe they offer me the best future."

McLaren will continue to utilise four drivers next year, with Pedro de la Rosa supplementing Wurz on the test team.

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug said: "We all had every understanding for Alex's ambitions to go back to racing in F1. The fact that he received offers from other teams clearly shows that he is seen as one of the drivers deserving a seat as a permanent F1 racing driver.

"McLaren, as well as Mercedes-Benz, supported Alex in his plans to make his understandable wish come true. However we are all very pleased that Alex has taken the decision to stay with McLaren. He has contributed a lot to our technical development in the past three years and Mercedes-Benz is particularly happy to have in Alex a proven ambassador for our brand."

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