Jordan Ford driver Ralph Firman will miss this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, after failing a fitness test. Ralf Schumacher meanwhile has been given the all-clear.

Both drivers suffered serious crashes prior to this weekend, Ralf crashing in testing last week and Firman crashing heavily at the Hungarian GP three weeks ago. Following examinations by Professor Sid Watkins today, Firman will sit out the event due to an inner ear imbalance.

Firman told the Jordan website: "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.

"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 per cent 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."

Jordan have yet to announce who will replace the Englishman, however Zsolt Baumgartner is thought to be favourite, as he stood-in for Firman at the Hungarian GP, and is scheduled to run tomorrow in the extra test session.

 

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