Alex Wurz has confirmed that he is to retire from racing in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with immediate effect - something that means he will not compete in Brazil in two weeks time.

The Austrian, who returned to the cockpit this year after a long spell testing, has struggled on the whole in comparison to his WilliamsF1 team-mate Nico Rosberg and rumours of his decision to hang up his helmet surfaced over the weekend in China.

Indeed he has had a bad run in the last six events - and hasn't scored any points now since his fourth place finish at the rain affected European Grand Prix back in July.

The 33-year-old, who made his Formula 1 debut with Benetton back in 1997 and who finished on the podium in Canada in June, explained that he has started to doubt of late whether or not he wants to race.

"In such a hard fought environment as Formula 1, I have always maintained that if you have a moment's doubt about what you are doing, then it is time to stop," he confirmed. "Privately I began to have these thoughts earlier this year and so have decided that now is the time to make my announcement: I am retiring from active racing in Formula 1.

"I would like to thank my family and fans, everyone at AT&T Williams and my previous teams, as well as the media, for all of their support during my Formula 1 racing career.

"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."

Despite becoming a father for the third time recently though, Alex hasn't given up on the idea of racing altogether and whether he returns to testing and/or races at Le Mans in 2008, are both options he is apparently weighing up.

"I look forward to my future and perhaps the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and skills in Formula 1. I have some discussions underway. I may also race again, perhaps in Le Mans or other categories and certainly some of my time will now be committed to the very important subject of road safety," he added.

The AT&T WilliamsF1 team meanwhile has said that it will confirm its 'replacement race nomination for the Brazilian Grand Prix in a written statement tomorrow' [Tuesday, October 9].



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