McLaren Mercedes team can confirm that current third driver Alexander Wurz will remain with the team for the 2004 season. Alex will continue to play an integral part in the team's 2004 World Championship challenge as he, together with David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen and Pedro de la Rosa, will be developing the Team McLaren Mercedes MP4-19 Formula One car, which made its track debut on Tuesday 25th November at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
"I am pleased to announce that I have decided to stay with the Team McLaren Mercedes team as their third driver," said Alex Wurz. "It is no secret that I have been on the shortlist for the second raceseat at Jaguar Racing, which has been a privilege. However with Team McLaren Mercedes' 2004 testing programme having already begun I felt it necessary to take my future into my own hands so as to fully focus on the season's preparation. Team McLaren Mercedes is a loyal and rewarding team to be part of and I believe they offer me the best future."
"Alex's contribution during the past three years has been immense and everybody in the team is pleased that our relationship will continue," said McLaren Racing's Managing Director Martin Whitmarsh. "We knew that there were opportunities for Alex to get back into racing and would have supported him in whatever decision he made. However the fact that he will remain with the team is positive and will help to further emphasise our challenge for the 2004 Formula One World Championships."
"We all had every understanding for Alex's ambitions to go back to racing in Formula One," said Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes- Benz Motorsport. "The fact that he received offers from other teams clearly shows that he is seen as one of the drivers deserving a seat as a permanent Formula One racing driver. McLaren, as well as Mercedes-Benz, supported Alex in his plans to make his understandable wish come true. However we all are very pleased that Alex has taken the decision to stay with Team McLaren Mercedes. He has contributed a lot to our technical development in the past three years and Mercedes-Benz is particularly happy to have in Alex a proven ambassador for our brand."