Coulthard: Wurz an unsung hero in Formula 1

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Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has identified Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz as one of the series’ unsung heroes for his efforts to improve safety standards throughout 2015.

Driver safety in motorsport has been a key issue once again in 2015 following the deaths of F1’s Jules Bianchi and IndyCar’s Justin Wilson, both of whom sustained severe head injuries in races over the past 18 months.

Wurz balanced his commitments as chairman of the GPDA with a drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota in 2015, but will retire from motorsport following a one-off appearance for Chip Ganassi Racing at the Daytona 24 later this month.

Wurz told MotorSportsTalk back in August that he believed closed cockpits would be ‘the most logical choice’ for single-seater racing in the future as he continued to push for improved safety standards in motorsport.

Writing in a column for The Telegraph, Coulthard praised Wurz for his efforts across the course of 2015 despite the Austrian not spending much time in the limelight.

“For all the big meetings he brings all the drivers together, even those who are not [GPDA] members, and makes sure they stand as a united front,” Coulthard wrote.

“After every race he writes to Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s chief executive, Jean Todt, the FIA president, and Charlie Whiting, the race director, to express the drivers’ feelings on the circuit or any accidents that have taken place.

“Team principals may sound off in front of the cameras for their own ends, but Alex works quietly behind the scenes for the greater good of the drivers and the sport. He does this away from the glare of publicity and receives little public recognition.”

Coulthard went on to tip Wurz for an increased role in racing in the future, believing that the offer to run Manor Marussia F1 Team is just the first of many he will receive.

“I have no doubt that one day he will find himself in a major role in motorsport,” Coulthard said.

“He turned down the job of Manor team principal, but it is just a matter of time before big things happen.

“We should also not forget, in the year of his retirement, that Alex scored three podiums in F1, not to mention winning the Le Mans 24 Hours twice. He is a credit to our sport.”