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Wurz signs to Honda as test and reserve driver 10 Jan 2008

Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 6 October 2007 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda RA107 
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 20 October 2007 Alex Wurz (AUT), Benetton B197, 3rd place with Jacques Villeneuve (CDN), Williams FW19, 1st place on the podium British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 13th July 1997. World © Sutton

Honda announced on Thursday that Alex Wurz is to become the team’s test and reserve driver. Wurz, who raced for Williams last season before announcing his retirement from racing, will work alongside Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello at the Japanese squad to form one of the most experienced driver line-ups in Formula One.

“I am delighted to be joining the Honda Racing F1 Team at the beginning of what I hope can be a very exciting period for the team,” said the Austrian. “Honda has such a rich history of success in motorsport and it is a real honour to be part of a team that has racing right at the core of its operation. This is an excellent opportunity to play an important role in the development of the team going forward. My three previous teams have all been world championship winners and I hope to be able to contribute to Honda's ambitions.

“The chance to work with one of the best brains in F1 in Ross Brawn is very exciting, as is the level of resources that the Honda team has at its disposal. I am also looking forward to working with Jenson and Rubens, two drivers who I know very well, and I'm sure we will form a very successful partnership over the coming weeks. For now, my immediate focus is on getting back in a Formula One car in Valencia and starting work with the team.”

With over a decade of Formula One experience, Wurz is widely regarded as one of the best development drivers in the sport. After making his Grand Prix debut back in 1997 with Benetton, he has driven for McLaren and most recently Williams, as test driver in 2006, before taking on a race seat for the 2007 season.

In response to the announcement, Honda team principal Ross Brawn said: “We are delighted to welcome Alex to the Honda Racing F1 Team and very pleased to have secured one of the most experienced development drivers in Formula One to support our race driver pairing of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

“Alex has 11 years of top level experience in the sport and this depth and breadth of knowledge will prove invaluable to us as we aim to make Honda a competitive force in 2008. Alex will spend his first Honda test familiarising himself with our team and the RA107 before moving on to play a crucial role in the track development of the new RA108 car. We are looking forward to working closely with him over the coming months.”

The 33 year-old will make his debut for the team later this month at the multi-team test in Valencia, where he is expected to acclimatise to the team and take charge of the squad’s car from last year, the RA107. The test at the Spanish track is scheduled to get underway on January 22.