Ralf to race, Ralph to miss out

After being checked by Professor Sid Watkins, following their recent accidents, Williams's Ralf Schumacher has been cleared to race at Monza but Jordan's Ralph Firman has not. Schumacher, who crashed in testing at the Monza circuit last week, had...

After being checked by Professor Sid Watkins, following their recent accidents, Williams's Ralf Schumacher has been cleared to race at Monza but Jordan's Ralph Firman has not. Schumacher, who crashed in testing at the Monza circuit last week, had medical checks on Wednesday and was pronounced 'fine' by Watkins on Thursday.

"Ralf went for checks in Salzburg on Wednesday," a Williams spokesperson confirmed. "He saw Sid and was asked a few questions and Sid basically said he was fine."

"I suffered headaches for the first two days after the crash but then it was no problem," said Schumacher, who joked that his brain had been found during an X-ray. "The accident doesn't bother me and my goal is to try and keep my slim chance in the drivers' championship alive."

Firman was advised not to take part in the Italian GP after Watkins noticed an inner ear imbalance, an after effect of his crash in Hungary. The Jordan driver said he could have covered it up but did not want to put himself, or other drivers, at risk.

"Having consulted with Professor Watkins on arrival at the circuit today it's clear that due to the residual effects of my serious accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks ago I will not compete this weekend in Monza," said Firman, in a statement from Jordan. "I have an inner ear imbalance which the Professor said should be fine in time for testing in Silverstone and the last two races."

"Although I feel extremely well, have returned to training and passed all the normal tests, I knew in myself this week that I had not recovered 100% although I generally felt absolutely fit. I think honesty is the best policy so I volunteered this to Professor Watkins and accept missing a second race because what is vital to me is that I finish the season as strongly as possible in America and Japan -- particularly in Suzuka where I clinched last years Formula Nippon Championship."

Team boss Eddie Jordan has not yet announced a replacement for Firman. Test driver Zsolt Baumgartner, who deputised for Firman in Hungary, is present at Monza this weekend.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Eddie Jordan , Zsolt Baumgartner , Ralph Firman
Teams Williams , Jordan