Gene for Magny-Cours, Webber for the rest of the year?

Marc Gene, Italian GP 2003

Marc Gene, Italian GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

Ralf Schumacher got a shock yesterday when he visited the clinic at Bad Nauheim and discovered that he had two fractures in his spine. He will be out of action for at least eight weeks and probably 12 and that means that the Williams team is looking at not seeing him again until the end of September or the beginning of October. If that is the case and with Ralf on his way to Toyota next year, there is no point in the team taking Schumacher back as his replacement will be settled into the team by that point.

Williams is expected to announce that Marc Gene will drive the car at the French Grand Prix but there is now a big opportunity for the team to pick a new driver and there is no doubt that the first thing that will happen is that Williams will be going to Jaguar Racing and trying to sign up Mark Webber. The Australian is expected to go to Williams next year and Jaguar no longer has a hold on him after the end of the current season. Renault is going to announce Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso for 2005 at the French GP and so there is no longer any reason why Webber cannot join Williams and letting him go early may be a good way for Jaguar to raise some money and try out a new driver for the remaining races this year.

The big question is likely to be who will be chosen for this role with the test and reserve driver Bjorn Wirdheim obviously one possibility but also Anthony Davidson, the BAR test driver, a favourite of team boss Tony Purnell. It is also possible that Red Bull might push to get Formula 3000 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi into the second Jaguar although it probably makes more sense for him to complete his Formula 3000 programme and worry about F1 after that.

One way or another there are likely to be big moves in the next few days.

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