Villeneuve and the second Williams at Magny-Cours

Jacques Villeneuve, Canadian GP 2003

Jacques Villeneuve, Canadian GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

There have been the (perhaps inevitable) rumours that Jacques Villeneuve will join the BMW Williams F1 team at the forthcoming French GP. These are preposterous. Villeneuve has not tested for the team and there are no plans for him to test for the team. The team says that it will not make any decision about Ralf until the start of next week and that means that there will be no decent chance for any replacement to test unless that happens tomorrow. Williams is testing Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia this week as usual and so it is safe to assume if Ralf is no ready to race then the job will go to one of the other test drivers. Gene has already stood in for Williams on one occasion at Monza last year and he did a good solid job and finished in the points but the team felt that perhaps the Spaniard could have been more competitive, given the speed of the car at the time. It is quite possible that Gene will be back in the Williams if Ralf cannot race but the team is known to want to see what Antonio Pizzonia can do in a race. The Brazilian has been blisteringly quick in testing but there has been a question mark over his racing ability since the debacle at Jaguar Racing last year. If Schumacher is not ready to return, it would be a perfect opportunity for the team to give Antonio a run. If he was successful it would put him into the hunt for a race drive with Williams next year.

However until Ralf Schumacher has a medical inspection at the start of next week, there is no official decision as to what will happen. Our sources seem to believe that Formula 1 doctor Professor Sid Watkins will be loathe to let Ralf race so soon after a big bang on the head. Secondary concussion can be extremely dangerous and Watkins will no doubt take into account the fact that Ralf had another big concussion less than a year ago after a testing accident at Monza.

We feel therefore that it is possible that Ralf could miss the French and British Grands Prix. This would mean that he would get nearly a month to recover from the crash at Indianapolis before going back into the car at the German Grand Prix.

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