With Ricardo Zonta out of the picture following his decision to work with Jordan next year, McLaren duly announced the signing of Alex Wurz as its test driver for 2001.

The lanky Austrian, out of work since being told of his replacement by Jenson Button at the end of the season, is renowned for his testing ability, and has been widely tipped to join McLaren sine it was revealed that current tester Olivier Panis would be racing with BAR in 2001.

The role was half-expected to have to be shared with Zonta, a former McLaren tester, but the Brazilian opted for Jordan yesterday [Saturday], leaving Wurz with the chance to 'do a Panis' and get his racing career back on track for 2002.

The Austrian's signing also removes another name from the list of possible drivers at Sauber next year, leaving Pedro Diniz or Enrique Bernoldi the most likely to join Nick Heidfeld in the Swiss squad.