Alexander Wurz

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Alexander Wurz
Alexander Wurz 2013 WEC Silverstone.jpg
Born (1974-02-15) 15 February 1974 (age 40)
Waidhofen an der Thaya, Lower Austria
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality  Austrian
Active years 19972000, 2005, 2007
Teams Benetton, McLaren, Williams
Races 69
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 3
Career points 45
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 1
First race 1997 Canadian Grand Prix
Last race 2007 Chinese Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1996, 2008–
Teams Joest Racing, Team Peugeot Total
Best finish 1st (1996, 2009)
Class wins 2 (1996, 2009)

Alexander Wurz (born 15 February 1974 in Waidhofen an der Thaya, Lower Austria) is an Austrian racing driver, driver training expert and businessman. He competed in Formula One from 1997 until 2007, and is also a two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

He is currently under contract to race for the Toyota factory racing team in the WEC (World Endurance Championship). He is linked to Formula 1 as consultant, expert for TV and media, Williams F1 Team's driver coach, member of FIA Institute safety group, FIA road safety ambassador, president to the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Association),[1] and works occasionally as F1 driver steward.

Over the last 6 years he has established Test & Training International, a leading driver training and road safety expert group.

He is the second son of former rallycross driver Franz Wurz, who won the European Rallycross Championship in 1974, 1976 and 1982.

Career[edit]

Cycling[edit]

Wurz first tasted competition in the BMX World Championship, which he won in 1986 at the age of 12. This gave him an underlying physical fitness suitable for motor racing. In 2000, Wurz returned somewhat to his cycling roots, starting an MTB team with countryman Markus Rainer. The team, Rainer-Wurz.com, is currently sponsored by sponsors McLaren, Siemens, and Cannondale amongst others. They are multiple World Cup winners. In the early 2000s, niche bicycle brand Katarga presented a limited edition high-end mountain bike called the Alexander Wurz EVO SL, whose frame prominently featured Wurz's autograph.[2]

Auto racing[edit]

Early career[edit]

Like most Formula One drivers, Wurz's motorsport career began with karting. In 1991, Wurz drove in Formula Ford. In 1993, he switched to the German Formula Three Championship. During his time in Formula 3, Wurz crashed out of the lead at a race at AVUS in 1995 after a collision with the safety car.[3] From 1996, Wurz drove an Opel Calibra for the Joest Racing touring car team in the DTM. Also in 1996, Wurz, together with Davy Jones and Manuel Reuter, won the Le Mans 24 Hours and in so doing became the youngest ever winner of the 24-hour race. He still holds the record to this day.[4]

Formula One[edit]

Benetton (1997–2000)[edit]

Wurz's Formula One debut was on June 15, 1997 at Montreal for Benetton filling in for fellow Austrian Gerhard Berger, who couldn't race due to illness.[5] Wurz impressed with a podium position in his third race (1997 British Grand Prix) before returning to being a test driver upon Berger's return to the cockpit at the German Grand Prix, which Berger won.

However, Wurz was rewarded with a full-time race seat for the 1998 season with Benetton and spent three more seasons at the team, partnered each year by Giancarlo Fisichella. A strong start to 1998 suggested a bright future, and even attracted the interest of Ferrari[citation needed], but the three-season stint at Benetton turned out to be a disappointment. Toward the end of his Benetton time, Fisichella produced better results, although in 1998 Fisichella had one point less than Wurz, finishing 9th whereas Wurz finished 8th in that Season with 17 points (together with Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who finished 7th.) and five 4th places. One notable race was the 1998 Monaco Grand Prix, where he was running 2nd ahead of Michael Schumacher for a brief period. His hopes of a podium finish were ruined when Schumacher tried to pass through at Loews hairpin, but collided together with him and like Schumacher's Ferrari, his suspension broke, causing him to spin off and crash at the Nouvelle Chicane exiting the tunnel. He retired and Schumacher finished 10th in the end after the German pitted for repairs.

Testing (2001–2006)[edit]
Wurz testing for Williams at Silverstone in 2006.

In 2001 he took on the role of third (i.e., test) driver for McLaren.

In April 2005, with Juan Pablo Montoya injured, Wurz drove for McLaren in the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, finishing fourth in the race, but taking third place after both BAR-Honda drivers were disqualified. This gave him a unique record, as no other driver has had such a long gap between podiums as Wurz, who went eight years without one. His drive at Imola was all the more notable because he was still not comfortable in the car, and at times had to drive with one hand.

Since his signing to McLaren as test driver, Wurz had been eager to return to racing. At various times during this time he was linked in rumours to a return to a full race seat. His large size for a Formula One driver (186 cm/6'1.5") has perhaps been a factor that has not helped. In fact, because they were so sure he would be driving for Austrian-owned Red Bull Racing in 2005, the designers at McLaren neglected to allow for his size, meaning he could not physically fit in the car. In 2003 he was strongly linked to a race seat at Jaguar, where the under-fire Antônio Pizzonia was struggling. However, McLaren were struggling with their abortive new car and blocked the move to retain Wurz as a development driver. Jaguar then decided to give Pizzonia more time to prove himself, before drafting in Justin Wilson.

Williams (2007)[edit]

Alexander Wurz signed a deal with WilliamsF1 to become the team's official test and reserve driver at the beginning of 2006. He drove the third car at all Grand Prix Fridays in 2006. It was announced on 3 August 2006 that Wurz would replace Mark Webber as a race driver at Williams for the 2007 season. This was Wurz's first full-time race drive since 2000, and his team mate was Nico Rosberg. At the Monaco GP on 27 May 2007, Wurz scored his first points for the Williams F1 team, finishing in 7th place after qualifying 11th. He came 3rd for the 3rd time in his F1 career at the Canadian Grand Prix on 10 June 2007, staying out of trouble from 19th on the grid in an action packed race. He actually damaged his rear wing early on in the race, but battled against it and finished on the podium. He nearly repeated this at the European Grand Prix, but just didn't make it past Mark Webber at the final chicane. That race turned of to be Wurz's last points finish and especially from now on, team mate Rosberg distanced him. The qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, where Rosberg started from 16th on the grid, although he lost 10 places due to an engine change in practice, and Wurz started even further back in 18th without being put further back on the grid. On October 8, 2007 Wurz announced his immediate retirement from Formula One, meaning that the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix was his final race.[6]

The official Formula One website announced that "Williams driver Alexander Wurz has confirmed that he is to retire from Formula One racing with immediate effect".[7] Wurz himself also released a statement saying "I would like to thank my family and fans, everyone at AT&T Williams and my previous teams, as well as the media, for all of their support during my Formula One racing career. I may race again, perhaps in Le Mans or other categories and certainly some of my time will now be committed to the very important subject of road safety." The 33-year old cited doubts over his own commitment as the main reason for his departure despite having a relatively successful season racing with Williams.[8]

He was replaced by Williams test driver Kazuki Nakajima for the final race of the 2007 season in Brazil.[9]

Honda and Brawn GP (2008–2009)[edit]
Wurz demonstrating a Honda RA108 at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Wurz was the Honda F1 test driver for the 2008 Formula One season,[10] a role he kept on the transition to Brawn GP in 2009.[11]

Williams (2012)[edit]

For the 2012 Formula One season, Wurz rejoined the Williams F1 Team, this time to guide the team's inexperienced drivers Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado.[12]

Sportscars[edit]

Wurz signed with Peugeot to be part of their driving squad for the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans and he also participated 1000km of Spa in the Le Mans Series.

In 2009, together with Marc Gené and David Brabham, he took outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, driving a works Peugeot.[13] The 13-year gap between Wurz's victories is the largest in the event's history.[4] Together with his victory in 2010 of the 12hrs race of Sebring with Marc Gené and Anthony Davidson and his victory of the 1000 miles race of Road Atlanta with Stéphane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny in 2011 it made him win the 3 big Sportscar Classic Races in a Peugeot 908.[14][15] Wurz continued to race for Peugeot Sport Total through 2010 and 2011, though no further Le Mans wins were forthcoming. In November 2011, Toyota Motorsports confirmed Wurz as one of their factory drivers for the companies planned return to the 24 Heures du Mans in 2012.[16] Wurz will drive their new LMP1 Hybrid Prototype alongside Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima.[17]

Road safety[edit]

Wurz is involved in many projects regarding road safety and driver education and training. Together with his father he founded his own company Test and Training International, leader in the field of road safety and driver training working as well closely with the FIA Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, since 2011 as an operating partner of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy.

Medical car driver[edit]

In the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Wurz drove the medical car after regular driver Jacques Tropenat fell ill.[18]

Team management[edit]

Team Superfund[edit]

Wurz lodged an entry for his own team into Formula One (announced on May 31, 2009), but the application was unsuccessful. Team Superfund was one of several new applicants hoping to compete in the sport from the 2010 season onwards. It was believed that Wurz would prefer to align the team with an existing constructor based in the UK, perhaps renting space, facilities and staff from its factory, while Superfund takes time to build up its own headquarters, possibly based on existing resources in Austria.[19] The team would have been funded by Christian Baha, the owner of the Superfund Group, and the cars would be powered by Cosworth engines.

Personal life[edit]

Wurz is married to Julia and has three sons, Charlie, Felix and Oscar (b. September 30, 2007).[20] He used to race with different coloured boots on each foot,[21] but since his return to racing in 2007, he wears matching pairs.

Racing record[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Races Poles Wins Points Position
1992 German Formula Ford 1600  ?  ?  ?  ?  ? 1st
1993 Austrian Formula Three  ?  ?  ?  ?  ? 1st
German Formula Three RSM Marko 16 0 0 27 13th
Masters of Formula Three RSM Marko 1 0 0 N/A 17th
1994 German Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 19 1 3 219 2nd
Macau Grand Prix G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 15th
Grand Prix de Monaco F3 G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 10th
Masters of Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 26th
1995 German Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 15 0 0 74 6th
British Formula Three G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 4 21st
Macau Grand Prix G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 7th
Grand Prix de Monaco F3 G+M Escom Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A 6th
Masters of Formula Three  ? 1 0 0 N/A NC
1996 International Touring Car Championship Opel Team Joest 20 0 0 43 16th
Le Mans 24 Hours Joest Racing (LMP1) 1 0 1 N/A 1st
1997 Formula One Mild Seven Benetton Renault 3 0 0 4 14th
FIA GT Championship AMG Mercedes 10 5 1 25 10th
1998 Formula One Mild Seven Benetton Playlife 16 0 0 17 8th
1999 Formula One Mild Seven Benetton Playlife 16 0 0 3 13th
2000 Formula One Mild Seven Benetton Playlife 17 0 0 2 15th
2001 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes Test driver
2002 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes Test driver
2003 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes Test driver
2004 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes Test driver
2005 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes
Team McLaren Mercedes
1 0 0 6 17th
2006 Formula One Williams F1 Team Test driver
2007 Formula One AT&T Williams 16 0 0 13 11th
2008 Formula One Honda Racing F1 Team Test driver
Le Mans 24 Hours Team Peugeot Total (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A 5th
2009 Formula One Brawn GP F1 Team Test driver
Le Mans 24 Hours Team Peugeot Total (LMP1) 1 0 1 N/A 1st
2010 Le Mans Series Team Peugeot Total (LMP1) 1 0 0 11 31st
Le Mans 24 Hours Team Peugeot Total (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A DNF
2011 American Le Mans Series Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) 2 0 1 N/A NC
Le Mans Series Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) 1 0 1 N/A NC
Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) 4 0 2 N/A N/A
Le Mans 24 Hours Peugeot Sport Total (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A 4th
2012 FIA World Endurance Championship Toyota Racing (LMP1) 6 3 3 96 3rd
Le Mans 24 Hours Toyota Racing (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A DNF
2013 FIA World Endurance Championship Toyota Racing (LMP1) 6 3 1 69.5 4th
Le Mans 24 Hours Toyota Racing (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A 4th
2014 FIA World Endurance Championship Toyota Racing (LMP1-H) 7 2 1 104* 3rd*
Le Mans 24 Hours Toyota Racing (LMP1-H) 1 0 0 N/A DNF

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 WDC Points
1997 Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 AUS BRA ARG SMR MON ESP CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER HUN BEL ITA AUT LUX JPN EUR 14th 4
1998 Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Benetton B198 Playlife GC37-01 3.0 V10 AUS
7
BRA
4
ARG
4
SMR
Ret
ESP
4
MON
Ret
CAN
4
FRA
5
GBR
4
AUT
9
GER
11
HUN
16
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
LUX
7
JPN
9
8th 17
1999 Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Benetton B199 Playlife FB01 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
7
SMR
Ret
MON
6
ESP
10
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
10
AUT
5
GER
7
HUN
7
BEL
14
ITA
Ret
EUR
Ret
MAL
8
JPN
10
13th 3
2000 Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Benetton B200 Playlife FB02 3.0 V10 AUS
7
BRA
Ret
SMR
9
GBR
9
ESP
10
EUR
12
MON
Ret
CAN
9
FRA
Ret
AUT
10
GER
Ret
HUN
11
BEL
13
ITA
5
USA
10
JPN
Ret
MAL
7
15th 2
2005 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-20 Mercedes FO 110R 3.0 V10 AUS MAL BHR
TD
SMR
3
ESP MON
TD
EUR
TD
CAN USA FRA GBR GER
TD
17th 6
Team McLaren Mercedes HUN
TD
TUR ITA BEL
TD
BRA
TD
JPN CHN
2006 Williams F1 Team Williams FW28 Cosworth CA2006 2.4 V8 BHR
TD
MAL
TD
AUS
TD
SMR
TD
EUR
TD
ESP
TD
MON
TD
GBR
TD
CAN
TD
USA
TD
FRA
TD
GER
TD
HUN
TD
TUR
TD
ITA
TD
CHN
TD
JPN
TD
BRA
TD
2007 AT&T Williams Williams FW29 Toyota RVX-07 2.4 V8 AUS
Ret
MAL
9
BHR
11
ESP
Ret
MON
7
CAN
3
USA
10
FRA
14
GBR
13
EUR
4
HUN
14
TUR
11
ITA
13
BEL
Ret
JPN
Ret
CHN
12
BRA 11th 13
Notes

Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.

Sports car racing[edit]

Le Mans 24 Hours results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1996 Germany Joest Racing United States Davy Jones
Germany Manuel Reuter
TWR Porsche WSC-95 LMP1 354 1st 1st
2008 France Team Peugeot Total France Stéphane Sarrazin
Portugal Pedro Lamy
Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1 368 5th 5th
2009 France Team Peugeot Total Australia David Brabham
Spain Marc Gené
Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1 382 1st 1st
2010 France Team Peugeot Total Spain Marc Gené
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1 360 DNF DNF
2011 France Peugeot Sport Total United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Spain Marc Gené
Peugeot 908 LMP1 351 4th 4th
2012 Japan Toyota Racing France Nicolas Lapierre
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota TS030 Hybrid LMP1 134 DNF DNF
2013 Japan Toyota Racing France Nicolas Lapierre
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota TS030 Hybrid LMP1 341 4th 4th
2014 Japan Toyota Racing France Stéphane Sarrazin
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota TS040 Hybrid LMP1-H 219 DNF DNF

Le Mans Series results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 Rank Points
2010 Team Peugeot Total LMP1 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Peugeot HDI 5.5 L Turbo V12
(Diesel)
M CAS SPA
ovr:4
cls:4
ALG HUN SIL 31st 11
2011 Peugeot Sport Total LMP1 Peugeot 908 Peugeot HDI 3.7 L Turbo V8
(Diesel)
M CAS SPA1
ovr:1
cls:1
IMO SIL EST NC N/A
1 Driver run for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, no points awarded for the Le Mans Series.

American Le Mans Series results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rank Points
2011 Peugeot Sport Total LMP1 Peugeot 908 Peugeot HDI 3.7 L Turbo V8
(Diesel)
M SEB1
ovr:8
cls:8
LNB LIM MOS MID AME BAL MON PET1
ovr:1
cls:1
NC N/A
1 Driver run for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, no points awarded for the American Le Mans Series.

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2011 Peugeot Sport Total LMP1 Peugeot 908 Peugeot HDI 3.7 L Turbo V8
(Diesel)
M SEB
ovr:8
cls:8
SPA
ovr:1
cls:1
LEM
ovr:4
cls:4
IMO SIL PET
ovr:1
cls:1
ZHU

Complete FIA World Endurance Championship results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rank Points
2012 Toyota Racing LMP1 Toyota TS030 Hybrid Toyota 3.4 L V8 (Hybrid) SEB SPA LMS
Ret
SIL
2
SÃO
1
BHR
Ret
FUJ
1
SHA
1
3rd 96
2013 Toyota Racing LMP1 Toyota TS030 Hybrid Toyota 3.4 L V8 (Hybrid) SIL
4
SPA
Ret
LMS
4
SÃO COA FUJ
1
SHA
2
BHR
Ret
4th 69.5
2014 Toyota Racing LMP1 Toyota TS040 Hybrid Toyota 3.7 L V8 (Hybrid) SIL
2
SPA
3
LMS
Ret
COA
6
FUJ
2
SHA
2
BHR
1
SÃO
4
5th 116

* Season in progress

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fia.com/news/accident-panel
  2. ^ "Mountain-bike Alexander Wurz Edition". Veni, vidi, velo!. 2014-04-21. Retrieved 2014-05-01.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Safety car hits Wurz
  4. ^ a b "Third-time plucky for Peugeot". Autosport 196 (12): 36–47. June 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ F1 Racing magazine, December 1997, pg 46
  6. ^ "Wurz confirms immediate retirement from F1". autosport.com. 2007-10-08. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  7. ^ "Wurz announces retirement from Formula One competition". formula1.com. 2007-10-08. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  8. ^ Wurz retirement statement
  9. ^ "Williams confirm Nakajima for Brazil". autosport.com. 2007-10-09. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  10. ^ "Wurz joins Honda as test & reserve driver". autosport.com. 2008-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Wurz retains ties to Brawn GP". autosport.com. 2009-03-29. 
  12. ^ "Wurz to mentor Williams duo | Williams F1 Team News | Formula 1 Teams | Sky Sports". 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Peugeot win Le Mans 24-hour race". BBC. 2009-06-14. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ [3]
  17. ^ Wurz leaves Peugeot to head Toyota driver lineup
  18. ^ "Wurz drove F1 medical car in Singapore". GMM. 2008-09-28. 
  19. ^ Strang, Simon (2009-05-31). "Wurz set to lead Superfund into F1". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  20. ^ Wurz is father for third time – Racing news and opinions – Auto123.com – Canadian automotive network
  21. ^ "Mind Games". btinternet.com. unknown. Retrieved 2007-06-01.  Check date values in: |date= (help)[dead link]

External links[edit]


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Peter Wieser
Austria Formula 3 Cup champion
1993
Succeeded by
Josef Neuhauser
Preceded by
Yannick Dalmas
JJ Lehto
Masanori Sekiya
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1996 with:
Manuel Reuter
Davy Jones
Succeeded by
Michele Alboreto
Stefan Johansson
Tom Kristensen
Preceded by
Allan McNish
Rinaldo Capello
Tom Kristensen
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2009 with:
Marc Gené
David Brabham
Succeeded by
Timo Bernhard
Romain Dumas
Mike Rockenfeller
Awards
Preceded by
Giancarlo Fisichella
Lorenzo Bandini Trophy
1999
Succeeded by
Jarno Trulli
Union leadership
Preceded by
Pedro de la Rosa
GPDA Chairman
2014–
Succeeded by
Incumbent