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Pizzonia to get Spa chance 20 Aug 2004

Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 24 July 2004

Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia will make his first Belgian Grand Prix appearance next weekend, when he again stands in for the injured Ralf Schumacher.

Pizzonia, who has scored points in his last two outings with Williams, is eager to sample the famous Spa circuit in a Formula One car, having had considerable success at the Belgian track in other, more junior, series.

“I have good memories of Spa, where I've raced four times in different formulae, including Formula Renault, F3 and F3000,” said the Brazilian. “The best was definitely in 2000, when I became British F3 Champion, having finished the race in second place. Spa is a very special place, so I can't wait to drive a Formula One car around it.

Spa is known as one of the toughest tracks on the calendar, with the high-speed Eau Rouge corner having been the scene of numerous accidents over the years. Nevertheless, Pizzonia believes it is not nearly as difficult as it once was.

“I don't think Eau Rouge is as challenging as it used to be, though, because Formula One cars have so changed much,” he said. “We have such a huge amount of downforce now, and the tyres have improved so much, I think everyone pretty much goes flat out around it.”

Ralf Schumacher, who fractured two vertebrae in a crash at Indianapolis in June, has still not been cleared to race and is now not expected to be back in a car until at least the Monza test at the end of August.