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Question marks over Schumacher and Pizzonia 09 Apr 2003

Mr Happy, Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, Brazil, 4 April 2003

After the opening Grands Prix of the season, Ralf Schumacher and Antonio Pizzonia are worrying about their futures.

Schumacher has received a strong letter from BMW Williams team principal Sir Frank Williams, a man not known for mollycoddling his drivers, instructing him to get his act together. The German has cracked three times in single-lap qualifying, and only has a fourth place in Malaysia to show so far. On Sunday he was lucky to get away with passing Jos Verstappen before the start-finish line when the safety car went in on lap 22.

He has also been troubled by allegations in his private life.

"The best thing we could do is give Ralf a month off to sort himself out and put Marc Gene in the car," a team insider suggested in Brazil. "Marc has shown he can be as quick as both Ralf and Juan Pablo in testing."

Meanwhile, Antonio Pizzonia is also in trouble. He was chosen by Niki Lauda before the single-lap qualifying format placed such a premium on experience. The Amazonian has enjoyed success in every category he's raced in until his troubled F3000 season last year, and now appears to be overdriving. After crashing heavily on Friday he was warned by Jaguar chiefs not to do so again, but slid out of the race at Turn Three on the 25th lap.