Zonta gets race call-up as FIA rule out German
Ralf Schumacher will not race at Indianapolis this weekend following his high-speed accident in practice on Friday. Toyotas third and reserve driver, Ricardo Zonta, will take his place.
Schumacher, who fractured his spine in a not dissimilar crash here last year, went into the barriers in the banked final turn after a rear tyre failure. He climbed from the car unaided and after initial medical checks at the circuit and at the local Methodist Hospital, where he was also treated last year, said he would be fit to race.
However, after a further examination by FIA Medical Delegate Dr Gary Hartstein on Saturday morning, it was confirmed that the German would be allowed to take no further part in the weekend.
Schumacher is not thought to have sustained any serious injury and Toyota stressed his withdrawal was mainly a precautionary measure to avoid the risk of secondary concussion were he to have another accident. He is expected to make his race return at the next round at Magny-Cours in two weeks' time.
"This news is obviously very disappointing for myself and for the team," he said, after confirming he felt about 80 percent fit. "I wish the team all the best for the rest of the weekend and I'm confident that I will be back in time for this month's French Grand Prix."
Zonta last raced for Toyota in last years Brazilian Grand Prix, one of his five appearances for the team in 2005.
"Yesterday's events mean this is not an ideal situation for the whole team, and I'm especially sorry for Ralf," said Zonta. "Of course I'm glad to be back with a chance to race the car, but on the other hand it's a very difficult situation.
"But I have been called up to race once before on a Saturday with a previous team so I will try to make the most out of the rest of the weekend."
Zonta's Formula One career started with BAR in 1999 and after a brief spell with Jordan he became Toyotas third driver in 2003.