Alex Wurz has revealed that he agreed to end his Formula One race career one round earlier than planned in order to allow Williams to evaluate Kazuki Nakajima in competition conditions.

Although it had seen the Japanese driver in action in GP2 throughout the year, and despite team boss Frank Williams insisting that one race was no basis for evaluating a raw talent, Wurz has explained that he came to an agreement with the team to retire after the Chinese race so that Nakajima could run in Brazil last weekend.

Speaking to sportnet.at, the tall Austrian confirmed that he had been asked to step aside ahead of the season finale, but revealed that he had reached an amicable situation with his employer, discounting some rumours to the contrary. Indeed, Wurz had continued to offer his input to the team while it was in Brazil, using his renowned testing experience to suggest suspension and et-up adjustments to help both Nakajima and team-mate Nico Rosberg cope with the Interlagos circuit.

"Williams and I had spoken during my last race and arrived at an agreement that my seat could be used by Kazuki to run in Brazil as a test for 2008," he confirmed, "It has been reported that I was offered a lot of money by Toyota to step down, but it was a voluntary decision. We agreed amicably with no money mentioned. Williams and I have collaborated as a team from the first minute I arrived and that is the same now.

"I spoke to the team on the Saturday of the Brazilian race, having already told my engineer what I would recommend as set-up, especially with regard to the suspension. Whether the team opted to use my information is not important, but what is essential is that they again showed that we all work together - and that we earned fourth in the constructors' championship at the end."

Despite the obvious disappointment of not being able to end his race career at the final race of 2007, Wurz was magnanimous in his support of Nakajima, claiming that the Japanese driver had performed well on his F1 debut, despite the unfortunate incident in pit-lane, where he bowled over two of his crew.

"He is a good pilot," Wurz asserted, "but, however good he is, he still needs time - and we must give him that time."

 

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