Wurz to stay at Benetton till end of season

Alexander Wurz has rebutted persistent rumours that he is to lose his seat with the Benetton Formula 1 team by firmly stating that he is to see out his contract and will race for the Enstone-based outfit until the end of the season, according to Autosport's sister title Motoring News

Wurz to stay at Benetton till end of season

Despite not troubling the scorers in 11 starts so far this season, compared to the 18 points of the 'best of the non-McLaren/Ferrari rest' team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, Wurz is set to stay on with Benetton, as predicted by Autosport.com on July 17.

"I will be driving with Benetton until the end of the season," said the 26-year-old. "I am sick and tired of having to deny a new rumour every weekend."

Support for Wurz came from team boss Flavio Briatore, who has publicly expressed disappointment over his performances and is close to finalising a deal to secure Jenson Button's services for next year (see separate story).

"It's been a very disappointing season for us and for him," said Briatore, "and he needs to recover a little bit."

Sources suggest that Wurz has been chosen to stay on with the team for the duration of the season for want of a suitable replacement. Benetton test driver, Antonio Pizzonia was a prospective alternative to Wurz but has been deemed a year away from being ready for his F1 debut by the team's technical director Pat Symonds.

He needs another season for sure," said Symonds. "He got to the 95 per cent level very, very quickly, and I thought maybe there was something special there, but the last five per cent is taking a bit longer."

The Austrian's options in F1 for 2001 would appear to be limited. With the exception of a possible move to Sauber - as current driver Mika Salo is potentially moving to Toyota as its development driver in preparation for entry into F1 in 2002 - Wurz could find himself without a drive.

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