Honda website
Honda website

JUNE 16, 1997

Wurz stands in for Berger

GERHARD BERGER was forced to miss the Canadian Grand Prix because of a sinus infection following a recent operation. Berger traveled from Austria to New York for a promotional function on his way to Montreal but began suffering problems on the plane. Doctors in New York recommended that he return home to Austria for another operation and, after consultation with the Benetton team, he flew back to Europe and was admitted to a clinic in Salzburg, where he is expected to undergo an operation in the early part of this week.

The Benetton team immediately nominated reserve and test driver Alexander Wurz - another Austrian - to stand in for Berger. Wurz did a sensible job qualifying - despite an accident on his final flying lap. He lined up 11th on the grid and ran in the points until his car suffered gearbox trouble and he was forced to retire.

Berger is hoping to be back in action at the French GP but it is more likely that the team will stick for Wurz for one more race to give Berger time to recover properly. Gerhard has not done any testing at Magny-Cours, while Wurz has been busy at the track and is better prepared for the race than Gerhard could hope to be.