Ralf loses memory of race and crash, may sit out French GP


  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 22 Jun 2004

INDIANAPOLIS: It is highly unlikely that Ralf Schumacher will race in the French Grand Prix on July 4 after it emerged that the BMW-Williams driver has no memory of competing in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix or his horror crash. 

Schumacher spent the night in hospital following his high-speed crash and was released yesterday. He intends to fly to his home in Austria to recuperate. 

The 28-year-old was lucky to only suffer back pain and bruising following his 330kph crash at the banked final turn on the road course inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and according to tomorrow’s edition of Auto Motor Sport magazine will now most probably miss the French GP. 

Williams team manager Dickie Stanford is quoted in the magazine as saying that when he visited Schumacher in hospital he had absolutely no memory of the race. 

Meanwhile, team boss Williams confirmed that “he is in a lot of pain” following his spectacular crash. 

Schumacher went into a spin after his back left tyre punctured on track debris left on the circuit following an accident on the opening lap of the race, which saw Jaguar’s Christian Klien, Giorgio Pantano of Jordan, Minardi’s Gianmaria Bruni and Sauber-Petronas driver Felipe Massa all crash out. 

Initially, it looked as if the Williams driver had been seriously injured when he remained motionless in the wreckage for three minutes before an ambulance arrived to rush him to the medical centre. 

“I had the impression that it took too long,” said a relieved but slightly critical BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen afterwards. 

This is the second nightmare crash that the younger Schumacher has been involved in the past 10 months. In September 2003, he was so shaken following a crash while testing at Monza that Williams test driver Marc Gene took his place on the grid at the subsequent Italian Grand Prix. 

Another person heavily affected by the nightmare crash was Ralf’s older brother and eventual race winner, Michael Schumacher of Ferrari. 

“It was very hard to deal with. At the time I was very shocked,” said the six-time world champion, who added that his Ferrari team had informed by radio during the race that his brother was unhurt. 

“I just got the information that Ralf was okay and that’s all that matters,” said Schumacher, who after the race immediately rushed with his wife Corinna to the Methodist Hospital where his brother was being treated. – dpa 

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