Despite having been out of a race cockpit, save for a few stand-in roles, over the past five years, Alex Wurz's desire to compete again at the highest level has never diminished, and his patience may yet be rewarded.

Although the lanky Austrian has moved from McLaren to Williams for 2006, he still retains links with the Woking operation, most notably through new mutual sponsor Direxiv. The Monaco-based, Japanese-run company is ramping up its motorsport involvement, having started to back drivers in GP2 last season, and continues to be linked with a possible McLaren 'B-team', particularly after lending its logos to the sidepods of the new MP4-21.

Wurz has also picked up backing from the company, which has extended its motorsport involvement to F3 and Formula Nippon as well as F1 and GP2, and is being tipped to lead any possible expansion team, although the likelihood of that happening before 2008 remains remote. The Concorde Agreement governing the top flight category changes in two years' time, ostensibly making it easier for new privately-owned teams to enter the sport, and any Direxiv-backed, McLaren-assisted team could find itself among a welter of new arrivals, such as Prodrive, opting to delay possible entry until then.

Direxiv is headed up by former grid girl Misato Haga, and advised by one Julia Wurz, the former Benetton PR who married her Austrian driver boyfriend having met him when their respective roles overlapped. Her involvement has naturally led to greater speculation that Alex, despite already being a logical candidate, would be front and centre when selection came around.

Although Wurz will be 34 at the start of the 2008 F1 campaign, he has proven himself to be a more-than-competent development driver - hence his protracted role at McLaren and reprise at Williams - who can still turn in solid race performances, as witnessed by his podium result at Imola last season, while subbing for the injured Juan Montoya. As such, he would prove to be an ideal foil for a 'young gun' making the jump into the top flight from either GP2, F3 or FNippon, but Wurz insists that there is a lot of time to pass before consideration of such a move needs to be made.

"It makes sense [for the team] to wait [before entering F1]," he told Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper, "Right now, running an F1 team costs $300million but, in two years, perhaps it will be only $100million. Just because of that, it would be sensible to wait."

According to the rumour mill, Direxiv is already investigating the possibility of using the former McLaren factory in Woking as a base for its team, and has recruited another former F1 pilot, Jean Alesi, to head up its operations. GP2 team owner, and former McLaren employee, David Price is being linked to running the team, given that his DPR squad is now Direxiv-backed, and he has taken a hand in overseeing the company's new FNippon entry.

Plans for McLaren to support Team Dubai now appear dead in the water, despite the recent tie-up between Emirates Airlines - owned by the same member of the ruling family involved in talks about a new team - and the Woking operation last week.


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