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Ralf hopes for Hungarian return 28 Jul 2004

Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 24 July 2004

Injured Williams driver Ralf Schumacher has been speaking of his hopes of returning to the cockpit ahead of schedule.

"It's my personal ambition to contest the next race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, which takes place in three weeks", he said.

Ralf Schumacher has already been confirmed as driving for the Toyota team from next season. He was injured after a high speed accident at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, which caused capillary cracks in his thoracic vertebrae.

"I'm feeling better day by day," he said, "but I have to admit that my back is still aching and some movements are still causing me pain."

Meanwhile Mario Theissen, BMW's Motorsport Director, has been speaking of the intense pressure that Ralf Schumacher's enforced absence has put the team's test drivers under, with both Mark Gené and Antonio Pizzonia having been called to substitute duties.

"The test drivers are under enormous pressure," he said, "they know it might be their only chance, and they must perform well. It is a difficult situation to cope with."

Gené was unable to bring his car to a points finish at the French and British Grands Prix, while Pizzonia secured the first two points of his Formula One career at last weekend's German Grand Prix thanks to a seventh place finish, although he was disappointed with a relatively poor qualifying performance that saw him start the race from P11. If Ralf does manage to make an early return, both Gene and Pizzonia know their moment in the spotlight will be at an end.