Rule change could hand Formula One reprieve to Wilson

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The Independent Online

Justin Wilson could be handed a way back into Formula One if team owners agree to scrap the controversial new third-driver ruling next week.

Wilson, looking for a drive after being replaced at Jaguar by Christian Klien, could be in line for a test role with the team if unanimous agreement is reached at a meeting of team heads next Wednesday. The 25-year-old would be barred under the new ruling which stipulates the third driver must not have competed in more than six grands prix in the previous two years.

"There seems to be a belief that this six grands prix in two years limit is going to get dropped," said Wilson's manager, Jonathan Palmer. "If that happened it would be great."

The rule, criticised for allowing too many young drivers on to the track, was introduced to stop the bottom six teams - which will be allowed to run a third car in practice on the Friday of race weekends - from using experienced test drivers.

Jaguar are prepared to offer Wilson a test contract for 2004 if the ruling is scrapped, having been impressed by the British driver when he competed in the last five races for the team last season after switching from Minardi.