Alex Wurz will bear the distinctive logo of Japanese company Direxiv Holdings, having signed a deal to head up its young driver development programme in 2006.

The new WilliamsF1 reserve expands Direxiv's promotional campaign into Formula One, following its involvement in both the GP2 Series and Japanese Super GT in 2005. The Austrian will become the figurehead for the Direxiv Driver Programme, which aims to support young drivers in their goal of reaching the top flight, and will carry the Direxiv logo will appear on his helmet, overalls and cap.

"Our driver programme includes young drivers in GP2, F3, Formula Nippon and Super GT, all of whom have aspirations to the highest levels of motorsport," Direxiv president Misato Haga explained, "Alex's extensive experience, knowledge and all-round competence on- and off- track make him the perfect mentor for the programme."

Clivio Piccione, Olivier Pla and Hiroki Yoshimoto all carried Direxiv branding in GP2 last season, and the company was tipped to back a Formula One expansion team than many expected to be headed up by Jean Alesi and run with year-old McLaren technology. The project failed to come to fruition in time for the 2006 F1 campaign, however, and Wurz's involvement would tend to suggest that any link with McLaren - the Austrian's former employer - may now be over.

"I have known the people at Direxiv for some time now, and have admired their drive and determination in growing the business," Wurz revealed, "They are a young company with big ambitions and I hope I can help them fulfil their goals.

"I believe it has never been harder for a young driver to progress through the ranks to reach F1, and that it is fundamental for them to have perfected a full range of skills - not just speed and consistency, but also technical knowledge, physical fitness and media awareness. I hope my experience can help the Direxiv drivers get a step closer to their goal."

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