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The future of Alexander Wurz

THERE has been considerable speculation in recent days about the future of Alexander Wurz at Benetton and there have even been hints that the Austrian may not survive with the team until the end of the season. Our spies in Barcelona suggest that Wurz may be replaced by Formula 3000 sensation Mark Webber. The Benetton B200 was designed with the lanky Wurz in mind but would fit Webber, and the new team boss Flavio Briatore is keen to shake the team out of its current malaise. Back in 1991 Briatore masterminded the removal of Roberto Moreno from Benetton in order to sign up a young Michael Schumacher and he may follow the same pattern again.

The Enstone team is expected to test Brazilian youngster Antonio Pizzonia later this week at Jerez and there is a possibility that the 19-year-old Brazilian could end up racing. In order to get the drive, however, he would have to be highly impressive. To date Pizzonia has done well in the British Formula 3 series but he has done only a handful of races in the formula and a leap into F1 would be too risky for the team. It is thought more likely that Pizzonia will be signed up as a test driver, perhaps with a Formula 3000 deal thrown in to sweeten the deal.

We have also heard rumors suggesting that Giancarlo Fisichella may be dropped by the team at the end of the year to make way for Jarno Trulli. Trulli remains under contract to Briatore.

Webber is not believed to have any contractual problems if he wants to drive for Benetton. He is the Arrows test driver but in recent weeks he has done no testing which is odd considering the amount of work he did over the winter.

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