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Firman to miss Italian Grand Prix - updated 11 Sep 2003

Ralph Firman Jnr (GBR) Jordan in the paddock on crutches following his crash yesterday.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary, 24 August 2003

Jordan driver Ralph Firman will not participate in this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza after failing an FIA medical on Thursday. He will again be replaced by Hungarian driver Zsolt Baumgartner.

Firman missed the last round of the championship in Hungary after crashing heavily in practice and badly bruising his ankle. He was expected to return to the cockpit in Italy after passing initial medical checks earlier this week. However, he was ruled out on Thursday after the discovery of an inner-ear problem by FIA medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins.

"Having consulted with Professor Watkins on arrival at the circuit today it's clear that due to the residual effects of my serious accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks ago I will not compete this weekend in Monza," said Firman in a statement issued by Jordan's website. "I have an inner ear imbalance which the Professor said should be fine in time for testing in Silverstone and the last two races.

"Although I feel extremely well, have returned to training and passed all the normal tests I knew in myself this week that I had not recovered 100% although I generally felt absolutely fit. I think honesty is the best policy so I volunteered this to Professor Watkins and accept missing a second race because what is vital to me is that I finish the season as strongly as possible in America and Japan - particularly in Suzuka where I clinched last years Formula Nippon Championship.

"It's been a difficult season and naturally I am very disappointed, but I want a sporting chance and am focusing solely on the remainder of this year and on having a much stronger season in 2004."

Ralf Schumacher, who spent a night in hospital after crashing in testing at Monza last week, passed Thursday's medical.