Wilson moves from Minardi to Jaguar

LONDON: Briton Justin Wilson, the tallest man in Formula One, will drive for Jaguar for the rest of the season with Denmark’s Nicolas Kiesa replacing him at Minardi, the teams said yesterday. 

Wilson, the 2001 Formula 3000 champion, replaces Brazilian rookie Antonio Pizzonia from next week’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Pizzonia has been offered a test and reserve driver role at the Ford-owned team. 

“Agreement has been reached with Minardi to allow Justin Wilson to complete the 2003 season with Jaguar Racing,” a team statement said. 

“This is an agreement for the remainder of the 2003 season only, with options for future years that provide Jaguar Racing with additional choices for 2004.” 

Pizzonia, 22, has had a torrid time at Jaguar, who tried to replace him as far back as April with McLaren’s Austrian test driver Alexander Wurz. 

While Australian Mark Webber has scored 12 points for Jaguar this season, Pizzonia has scored none and failed to finish Sunday’s British Grand Prix. 

“To the great regret of Jaguar Racing, Antonio Pizzonia has not been able to realise his potential with the team over the past 11 races,” said the Jaguar statement. 

“Jaguar Racing therefore has decided that it is neither in his best interests, nor in the team’s, for Antonio to continue driving as full time race driver at this time.” 

Wilson, who is 25 next week, follows in the footsteps of compatriots Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert, both now retired, as Jaguar drivers in British Racing Green. 

His move will also be a boost for those who have invested money in shares in the Briton through an innovative scheme to fund his drive at Minardi. 

Although his manager Jonathan Palmer has said Wilson would be willing to drive for Jaguar for free if it was in his career interests, the Briton now has a chance to break into the high-earning league and pay his shareholders dividends. 

“We are delighted to have Justin join us for the remainder of the 2003 season in what is a richly deserved opportunity,” said Jaguar managing director David Pitchforth. – Reuters 

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