APRIL 24, 2003
The dominos are falling...
When one driver moves in Formula 1 others moves usually follow. It seems that Antonio Pizzonia will be on the move after Barcelona unless he does something spectacular to show that he warrants a place within the team. That is not going to be an easy thing to do and it seems increasingly likely that Pizzonia will be asked to step aside. Jaguar Racing could certainly use a test driver on Fridays at the races and the team is known to think highly of Pizzonia from a technical point of view, Antonio having impressed engineers with his ability to comprehend what a car is doing in his ability to explain that.
It looks almost certain now that the replacement will be Alexander Wurz, who has spent the last few years working as the McLaren test driver. Wurz has done a good job for McLaren over the years and the team will not stand in his way. He is useful to Jaguar because of his experience as a racer back his days at Benetton, for which he raced in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Still only 29, Wurz has considerable ability which was not properly nurtured at Benetton but his confidence is now up and joining Jaguar will be the right move for him to make. It will help that he and Mark Webber are both tall as switching between cars will be a less of an issue with Pizzonia in the team.
McLaren is already moving to replace Wurz. We hear that Christjian Albers will not now be taking on the role of the Jordan test driver because he is going to be moving to McLaren to stand in for Wurz. This means that the Jordan test drive is still up for grabs for whoever has the money. There has been speculation in the Dutch press that Chinese-Dutchman Ho-Pin Tung could be on the list. He is currently winning in Formula BMW in Asia with Irishman Peter Thompson's Team Meritus. The 20-year-old speaks Chinese, Dutch, English, French and German and is studying at economics & law at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He was an accomplished kart racer and did well in Formula Ford despite budgetary restrictions. The Chinese angle will be very useful as China moves towards its first Grand Prix in Shanghai next year and Jordan's current love affair with Chinese companies might make Tung a good choice for a test drive.
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