JV still plagued with back pain

Jacques Villeneuve is playing down a serious back injury received in the 160mph accident in Australia in which a marshal was killed. The ex-champion has displaced a disc in his spine and medical experts have been unable to cure it despite three X-rays, a sophisticated MRI scan and several visits to specialists

JV still plagued with back pain

The problem appears to have intensified because he was put on a drip before qualifying in Spain.

Initially he walked away from the accident in Melbourne believing he was uninjured but was forced to admit himself to a local hospital later in the evening as the pain intensified. Over the past two months the pain has increased and he has needed more treatment. A testing crash at the end of the pit straight at Silverstone weeks after the Melbourne race exacerbated the problem.

He was allowed to rest and miss testing between the Spanish and Austrian Grands Prix and said at the A1 Ring that he felt better for the rest. But he had a doctor on hand in Spain, when he finished second and scored BAR's first podium, and one is with him this weekend at the A1 Ring.

"It is not going to keep me from racing," he told Autosport.com. "It was good to have some time off from testing last week to help it get better, but it really needs a long break and it is not going to get that in the middle of a busy season."

"It hurts on the bumps and the kerbs but I have to live with it."

Villeneuve's back was injured when his hammered into the back of Ralf Schumacher's BMW-Williams in Melbourne in March. His car somersaulted and a flying wheel punched its way through a narrow two foot slit in the fencing and killed 50-year-old marshal Graham Beveridge.

The injury could be a contributory factor to his loss of form. He has been outqualified in three of the last four races by team mate Olivier Panis, including this weekend in Austria.

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