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Verstappen in demand

DUTCH racer Jos Verstappen - released from his long-term Benetton contract recently - looks likely to have no trouble finding a job in 1996.

The talented Verstappen had a fraught time with Benetton in 1994 when he took part in 10 races as a replacement for JJ Lehto. He finished third in only his sixth race and was on the podium again in Belgium, and he finished the year 10th in the World Championship.

This was not considered to be sufficiently competitive for Benetton to sign him for 1995, and the team picked Johnny Herbert instead, while Jos was loaned to Simtek in exchange for some money and gearbox technology. He did well but was left out of work when the team closed down after Monaco.

With Benetton hiring Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger for 1996 there was no room for Jos and so Benetton boss Flavio Briatore has released the 23-year-old Dutchman, who has since had talks with Sauber, Ligier, Arrows and Tyrrell.

Jos was given a seat-fitting at Ligier recently, but the test was canceled because no engines were available. Last week Verstappen turned up at Silverstone and spent two days testing for Arrows - the team he did his first F1 laps with back in the autumn of 1993.

It is quite likely that Jos will be seen driving either a Footwork or a Ligier in Australia - and possibly even in Japan.

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