SEPTEMBER 26, 2004
Pizzonia back in the Williams?
Ralf Schumacher did a good job in Shanghai, up until lap 37 when he collided with David Coulthard at the hairpin. The German then went into the pits, arriving just before Juan Pablo Montoya was due to arrive. This was unfortunate but team sources report that things might have been helped if Ralf had used the radio and informed the team of what was going on. The result of this was that when Ralf arrived the team decided that the car should be parked to one side until Montoya had been sent on his way. The team then looked at the car, put new tyres on and refueled the car but Ralf made it very clear that he was not interested in rejoining the race.
"After a careful look the engineers decided that I could continue the race," said Ralf. "However too much time had elapsed by then and it was too late to get out on track again because I would have been two laps down."
This was not decided by the engineers but rather by Ralf making it very clear that he was not interested in going out again, a strange decision given that there were around 18 laps to go and no hint of how many cars were going to retire. In such circumstances it is usual for a driver to go out and continue just in case a lot of cars stopped and some points became available. Williams needs all the points it can get because McLaren is closing in on the Constructors' Championship and the difference between fourth and fifth positions is several million dollars.
Our sources say that the team was very unhappy with what happened and we believe that the team may decide to stand Ralf down for the final two races of the year and put Antonio Pizzonia back in the car again.
Watch out for action down Grove way.
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