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McLaren boss endorses Wurz selection

MCLAREN boss Ron Dennis's enthusiasm for his team's new test driver Alexander Wurz is not based on his perception of the Austrian driver's form at the wheel of a Benetton, but more on his personal qualities and obviously highly intelligent approach to his profession.

Speaking at Sepang today on the eve of the Malaysian Grand Prix, Dennis praised Wurz's qualities. "We considered the options," he explained. "We wanted to see if Ricardo Zonta got an opportunity - which he did, with Jordan - and would have probably included him in our testing schedule (otherwise), which is why we waited.

"Why did we choose Wurz? Because in the conversations that took place between him, Adrian Newey and Martin Whitmarsh (the McLaren MD), it was clear he was an extremely knowledgeable driver and had a very good understanding of the technical aspects of a Grand Prix car.

"We have learned in the past that the performance that drivers have in our competitors' cars is not always indicative of what they can do, so we tend to discount their performances in their previous teams. We form our opinion on the basis of how he behaves, how knowledgeable he is about a racing car, and what we feel his potential is.

"Once the confidence in a driver comes back, and his focus is there, they are capable of many things. Olivier Panis demonstrates just how well he has got his head in order now and believe he will have an outstanding job for BAR next year, and I believe those are the values we see in Alexander and are sure that he's going to do a great job for us."

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