McLaren says it won't stop test driver Alex Wurz from moving to Jaguar if he is offered a drive for 2004.

McLaren says it won't stop test driver Alex Wurz from moving to Jaguar if he is offered a drive for 2004.
After starting the season with Minardi, Justin Wilson drove for Jaguar in five grands prix this year, but was dogged by bad fortune and poor reliability. He scored a point for the team, however, at the US Grand Prix and shone in his very first qualifying session with the team in Germany.
However, it became clear towards the end of the season that Ford-backed Jaguar would opt for a sponsored driver alongside Aussie Mark Webber for 2004. This meant that the cash-strapped Wilson, who sold shares in his F1 career to finance his drive with Minardi at the beginning of 2003, would be left in the cold - or at best with a test drive seat - for next year.
Wilson's contract with Jaguar ended last month, but by giving the young Briton a short-term contract extension on Wednesday, the team ensured that it would have two drivers in place when the testing ban expired on November 28.
"Jaguar and Justin Wilson have decided by mutual consent to extend his contract for a few more weeks and that will allow Justin to test for us while allowing us more time if we need it," said Jaguar spokesman Nav Sidhu. "It's win-win for all concerned."
But Wurz continues to be the favourite to land the team's second seat alongside Mark Webber in 2004. McLaren-Mercedes has said it will not stand in Wurz's way should he land a race deal, but is unlikely to release him until the New Year while a replacement, possibly BAR refugee Jacques Villeneuve, is signed.
CARtoday.com reported last month that Wurz, who had been at McLaren since 2001, was considered the favourite for the spot, especially since he was considered to replace Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia earlier this year before talks broke down.
Sources close to Woking-based team revealed on Wednesday that although the Austrian had two years left to run on his testing contract, the team would release him if Jaguar wanted to sign him.
"I am in a luxury position," said Wurz. "Teams are approaching me, making offers. This is what a driver hopes for. Jaguar has me at the top of their list and McLaren wants to keep me as test driver."
It is understood that the team has only given Wurz a limited period of time to complete his negotiations with Jaguar. Meanwhile, energy drinks giant Red Bull is still pushing for Formula Three star Christian Klien to take a race seat with the team, but Wurz is also known to carry sponsorship.