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Charlie Wurz: Austria’s next big talent

Conducted and Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ

Many sons of racing drivers have a well-documented rise through the feeder ladder if they choose to race. After all, following in a superstar’s footsteps will always keep the spotlight on you. However, not every last name has the same starpower as ‘Schumacher’ or ‘Fittipaldi.’

Enter, Charlie Wurz. Son of late-1990s Formula 1 podium-finisher Alexander Wurz, Charlie Wurz is beginning to climb his way up the feeder ladder on his way to F1. Earlier in the month, the young racer took the time to chat with Divebomb about his career thus far and what to expect ahead.


Given that he’s the son of a Formula 1 driver, it is only natural he looked up to his father, a driver who achieved three podiums in his decade-long career against some mighty drivers. However, his father wasn’t the only person who inspired him.

“My dad has always been my role model growing up. I don’t have too many other role

models, but I always look up to some drivers such as Senna or Schumacher for their strengths.”

Wurz also spoke at length about an inspiration not within car racing, but within cycling instead.

“Also, looking at other sports, I’m a big fan of cycling and enjoy watching[Tadej] Pogacar, and his mental resilience is something I admire,” he said. “He always has a poker face on. He never shows weakness. Mental strength is very important in motorsport. They all have their individual qualities, I’m doing what I can to incorporate them all as best as I can.”

After two seasons of karting regionally in central Europe, Wurz jumped up to the continental stage in 2019, racing in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy, WSK Final Cup in the OKJ Class, and the FIA Motorsport Games – all while maintaining a schedule regionally. With such a busy schedule, it would be easy to give into the pressure.   

But he delivered. Though he finished 13th and 15th in the FIA Karting Academy and WSK Final Cup, Wurz saw success in the regional stage, finishing second overall in the Austrian Karting Championship and third overall in the FIA Central European Zone championship.

Credit: Polski Karting

He spent only one more year racing karts full time in 2020, in which he raced primarily in the WSK Euro Series, taking ninth place overall. It seemed inevitable that the move to F4 would come sooner rather than later for the young talent.

Debuting in Single-Seaters

In 2021, Wurz made the step up to single-seaters. However, his strategy of making the move was much more conservative, doing a few races in order to find his footing with no immediate rush.

“Jumping from karting to F4 is always a big jump, since it’s almost a whole different sport. I managed to get some testing miles in 2021 and won the F4 UAE Trophy round as an F1 support race at the end of the season which definitely helped to get the ball rolling moving into 2022.”

For 2022, he would do a triple-campaign, taking part in F4 UAE, ADAC F4, and Italian F4 with Prema Racing. He sees his greatest successes so far as winning a championship in the UAE and winning a race in Italy.

“2022 was a good year where I managed to improve myself a great amount over the

championships and races that we did. Winning a championship, multiple races, podiums, and

poles, it was definitely a positive first season in single-seaters. With the advice, experience,

and passion of my Prema crew, it was possible.”

Credit: Prema Racing

For a debut season in single-seaters, taking fourth overall in the world’s most competitive F4 championship — Italian F4 - is nothing to scoff at, especially against the likes of Kimi Antonelli, Kacper Sztuka, and Alex Dunne. To round off the year, he went up against a few of those same drivers in the FIA Motorsports Games, which he spoke of positively.

“The Motorsport Games is a good idea, giving some talented drivers across the world a

chance to compete against the strongest drivers in the world. Unfortunately, after qualifying second, I was taken out on the first lap of the qualifying race. So that was my weekend over. But I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.”

With the pace Wurz showed in F4 machinery in 2022, a jump to F3-level machinery was imminent.

Taking the Step Up

In the winter, it was announced that he would debut in the freshly rebranded Formula Regional Oceania Championship with M2 Competition. Though the Austrian had a strong team behind him, the learning curve of a new style of car and tracks were not to be overlooked.

“The tracks over in New Zealand are quite different to here in Europe. They’re more old

school, which I really enjoyed since the risk is higher so you really need to put it all on the line

in qualifying; one mistake, and you’ll end up in the grass or in the wall. That fine line, dancing

on a knife’s edge, made it always a thrilling experience to race on those circuits.”

Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ

It was clear he enjoyed New Zealand’s best circuits, as he would take four wins en route to his first championship in F3 machinery. Beating out highly rated prospects such as Callum Hedge and Louis Foster, a further jump to Formula Regional European had high hopes.

However, the FRECA campaign didn’t go so smoothly. Only scoring one point in the ten races he participated, Wurz wouldn’t complete the whole season, opting to finish out the summer in Euroformula Open. There, he scored one win and finished sixth in the standings despite not partaking in half the season.

Macau Grand Prix

To see out a key year in his junior career, Wurz participated in the prestigious Macau Grand Prix with Jenzer Motorsport. To say that it’s an honour for any junior driver to race at such a track would be an understatement.

“I loved Macau. The experience was amazing, the track is very unique, nothing like I’ve

experienced before, and you get such an adrenaline rush driving millimetres from the walls

with no room for error.”

Credit: Macau Grand Prix

In qualifying, Wurz only managed to get P18. However, in the qualifying race, he made a great comeback through the field on a historically tough-to-overtake track to finish 11th. After the highs of the qualifying race, a further comeback in the main event looked to be on the cards before an unfortunate incident with Paul Aron ended his race.

“We were really quick during the weekend, just very unlucky in qualifying with no representative lap time, but we managed to fight back on a track notoriously known to be difficult to overtake on. 

“We showed our pace making it up to sixth in the Grand Prix. When Aron spun, in the moment before eventually hitting the wall, I had the choice coming around the fastest corner on the

track which is also blind: either crash into Aron — who was in the middle of the road — or the wall.

"So I chose the wall which ended my race. Nonetheless it was an incredible experience and I

can’t wait to go back next year.”

Current & Future Goals

Recently, it was confirmed that Wurz would be stepping up to the FIA Formula 3 Championship with Jenzer Motorsport. Though he couldn’t comment on the signing at the time of the interview, hopes are high for the Austrian to deliver in a rookie 2024 campaign.

Outside of the feeder ladder, though, Wurz’s philosophy with driving is very similar to his father’s. Having taken part in a slew of GT and Porsche Supercup races all over the world, the young Wurz stated:

“My goal is to become Austria’s next F1 World Champion. I’ve been driving all

kinds of cars to get as much experience as possible, which is my dad’s philosophy. It

teaches you to adapt to cars quicker and learn all kinds of techniques and racing styles.”

When asked about any aspirations outside of F1, he said wouldn’t be limiting himself to just F1.

“I would like to race Le Mans at some point in my career, I think it’s one of the coolest races

in the world, if not the best. F1 is number one on the list but close behind in second is racing

the 24H of Le Mans.”

The team at Divebomb can’t wait to see what the future holds for Charlie Wurz, and wish him all the best!


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