Firman fails medical in Monza

British Formula 1 rookie Ralph Firman has failed his medical and will not compete in the Italian Grand Prix for Jordan-Ford as he had hoped. The team has yet to reveal who will replace him alongside Giancarlo Fisichella this weekend

Firman fails medical in Monza

Firman was injured in a high-speed crash in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix last month, but was expected to recover in time for the Italian race. He had a meeting with FIA medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins in Monza when the problem was discovered.

"It's frustrating," said Firman. "I feel absolutely fine, it's just like a little bit of vertigo when you sit up quickly sometimes, but I've been training and I have absolutely no problem driving a road car. Sid, however, has said that with any hint of a balance problem I cannot race. I have to respect that. When you think about driving a race car at 200mph plus, especially at a place like Monza, I could be a danger to myself and everyone else.

"I am still 100 percent behind the team and determined to be in the car for the final two races of the season."

There is no word yet on who will replace Firman alongside Giancarlo Fisichella. Zsolt Baumgartner, who made his F1 debut for the team in Firman's place at Hungaroring, is again scheduled to run in tomorrow's free practice session for the team, but Eddie Jordan claimed to be anxious to escape a Monza press scrum in order to finalise his choice of race driver after discussions with Firman.

"It is a tough call for Ralph," said Jordan, "but you have to respect his honesty."

Formula 3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim had an impressive test for Jordan at Monza last week and, if some finance is available, he could also be in line for an F1 debut.

Williams-BMW's Ralf Schumacher has been given the all-clear to race by Watkins following his big testing crash last week.

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