Heidfeld Forced to Pull Out of Test

Nick Heidfeld has been forced to pull out of testing at Paul Ricard in France after hurting his back in a bizarre incident on Thursday

Heidfeld Forced to Pull Out of Test

The Williams driver was left complaining of back pains after he corrected a wild snap-oversteer moment at the first corner of the track during one of his long runs to evaluate tyres. Although he did not run off the track and was able to return to the pits by himself, the pain in his back muscles meant he could not carry on driving.

After a brief rest period and attention from a physiotherapist, the team decided it would be better to send Heidfeld home to recuperate so he would be fully fit for the San Marino Grand Prix, rather than risk further damage by getting back in the cockpit.

Heidfeld's back concern comes as teammate Mark Webber is still suffering the after-affects of his fractured rib injury which has dogged him since the start of the season.

Webber needed pain-killing injections for the first two races of this year after picking up the injury during testing at Barcelona in February. He was thought to have been fully recovered for Bahrain but pulled out of last week's Barcelona test after just one morning of running, as a precaution to ensure he was fully fit for Imola.

The physical problems surrounding Webber and Heidfeld are thought unlikely to force either driver out of action at Imola, although test driver Antonio Pizzonia will probably to be put on stand-by as a precaution.

Heidfeld's back problems have luckily not badly affected Williams' test programme, because the team are planning to end their running at Paul Ricard on Thursday evening to avoid the bad weather predicted at the track for Friday.

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