The announcement that Alex Wurz was retiring from Formula One, is said to have been expected. Speculation around Wurz has been rife since the beginning of the season. Fans were a little shocked at his decision, as he has been enjoying a rather successful season with the Williams Team, crossing the finish line in third place at the Canadian Grand Prix and taking fourth position at the European Grand Prix. His retirement from Formula One was with immediate effect, so Kazuki Nakajima was in the driver seat at the season’s final race in Brazil on 21 October 2007.
To become a racing driver was in his genes, as his father, Franz Wurz, was a European Rallycross Champion during his career. Alex Wurz was born on 15 February 1974 and started his racing career the same way most drivers do, karting. By 1993, Wurz was driving in the German Formula Three, after which he joined the Joest Racing Team in 1996. One of his greatest achievements was winning the Le Mans 24 Hour, together with Manuel Reuter and Davy Jones.
Alex Wurz made his debut on the Formula One circuit in 1997 as a replacement driver for Gerhard Berger, on the Benetton Team. He returned to his position as a test driver after Berger returned, but was given a full-time driving position with partner Giancarlo Fisichella in 1998. Wurz started with the McLaren Team in 2001, as a third driver and once again had the opportunity to show his worth in 2005, when a injured Juan Pablo Montoya could not drive, Wurz brought a respectable fourth place home at the San Marino Grand Prix. And it was not an easy drive. Wurz was so much bigger than the other drivers that fitting his large physique into the cockpit, forced him to only use one hand while driving, most of the way. McLaren held onto Alex Wurz for as long as they could, as he was extremely talented and skilled with development and technical problems. But in 2006, he moved over to the Williams F1 team as reserve driver and a test driver. In 2007, he started to drive as the full-time racing driver for the team.
He is driver that will be sorely missed by the racing industry and by his fans. When Alex Wurz spoke to the media, he had this to say: “In such a hard-fought environment as Formula One, I have always maintained that if you have a moment’s doubt about what you are doing then it is time to stop. Privately I began to have these thoughts earlier this year and so have decided that now is the time to make my announcement. Racing this season has been a real pleasure, especially securing the podium in Canada – which was pretty sweet, along with a number of other strong races – but now it is time to call it a day. I’d like to thank the team for accepting my decision – and I wish them all the best for the last race of the year.” And with that, Alex Wurz bowed out, as the gentlemen he will always be remember for being, both on and off the track.