Wed, Oct 10, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Wurz announces sudden retirement from Formula One

AP , OXFORD, ENGLAND

Austrian Formula One driver Alexander Wurz of Williams walks in the pit lane at the Shanghai International Circuit near Shanghai on Thursday.

PHOTO: EPA

Austrian driver Alexander Wurz retired from Formula One racing on Monday and will miss the final race of the season.

The 33-year-old Williams driver said he had been considering retirement since the beginning of the year.

"In such a hard fought environment as Formula One, I have always maintained that if you have a moment's doubt about what you are doing, then it is time to stop," Wurz said in a statement.

Wurz raced 16 times for Williams this season, finishing third at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10. He is 11th in the driver's standings with 13 points.

Wurz finished 12th in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix. Williams' other driver, Nico Roseberg, finished 16th and is in ninth place in the season standings with 15 points.

Wurz made his F1 debut in 1997, driving in three races for Benetton and making his first podium at the British Grand Prix, where he finished third.

He spent the next three years as a full-time driver for Benetton before joining McLaren as a test driver, a role he had until 2005, when he finished third in his only race in San Marino.

Wurz had joined Williams last year as a test driver.

Wurz said he would like to work in F1 in the future, and may also race at Le Mans or other categories as well as working on improving road safety.

Williams team chief Frank Williams said Wurz had provided an invaluable contribution to the team.

"Alex is well known, immensely popular and widely regarded as one of Formula One's gentlemen," Williams said.

Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima will replace Wurz in the Formula One season finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil, next week.

Nakajima, Williams' test and reserve driver, was this year's rookie of the year in the GP2 series. He has raced five times for Williams as a driver in Friday's practice sessions, including at the last grand prix in Shanghai, China, last week.

"You cannot address a driver's capability on the basis of one race, but this is an ideal opportunity to develop Kazuki's experience," Williams said.

"I am confident he will approach the race in a very workmanlike and focused way," he said.

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