OCTOBER 12, 1998
Muller for BMW test job?
THE announcement that Pedro Diniz is to join Sauber is bad news for the Swiss team's test driver Jorg Muller, who had been hoping to get the seat alongside Jean Alesi.
Muller has been on the fringes of F1 since he won the Formula 3000 title in 1996 as a test driver with Arrows and this season with Sauber. His only hope of a drive in 1999 is if Tom Walkinshaw - who rates Muller highly - is able to land a large sponsor which wants a German driver. This is not very likely.
We hear that BMW in Munich is keen on having Muller doing the test driving for the company's engine development program next season. This will involve a considerable amount of work with an old Williams chassis. While this might be a good move for Muller he knows that Alex Zanardi and Ralf Schumacher both have long-term contracts with Williams and that the team has an exclusive arrangement with BMW for several years, which means that by the time there is an opening for him he will probably be too old to make the most of it.
We also hear of rumors that Muller is in the running for the second seat at Arciero-Wells Racing in CART to partner American Scott Pruett.
While Muller might be a good choice for engine testing for Williams the team is understood to be backing a young British driver for the job.
The BMW test car is expected to begin running in December or January.