Formula One's latest injury worries - Ralph Firman and Ralf Schumacher - will learn today whether or not they are fit enough to take part in this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The pair, who have both suffered big accidents since the beginning of the Hungarian GP meeting three weeks ago, will meet with medical teams to obtain the necessary clearance to re-assume driving duties at the 14th round.

Firman crashed heavily in Saturday morning free practice at the Hungaroring, suffering a concussion and heavy bruising to his leg and ankle. The Briton, in his first season with the Jordan team, was forced to sit out the Hungarian race, where he was deputised by local hero Zsolt Baumgartner,, and also missed last week's important group test at Monza, where the Coloni F3000 driver again stood in for him.

Although he had expected to be fit for the test, Firman was forced to concede defeat when his ankle proved too painful to drive with. He is scheduled to meet with F1 doctor Sid Watkins today, and hopes to get the all-clear to resume what has been a difficult debut season. Should he not be passed fit, Baumgartner has been cleared by Coloni to take part in the F1 weekend, having been replaced at the Italian team by F3 graduate Christian Montanari.

Schumacher, meanwhile, crashed more recently, somersaulting out of the first day of testing at Monza last Tuesday. Although the German reckoned he was fit enough to discharge himself from hospital in Milan, in order to return home to Austria and the care of his own physicians, he has not yet climbed back into the cockpit.

With both his and team-mate Juan Montoya's championship ambitions on the line, the Williams-BMW team will hope that Schumacher is passed fit to drive in Italy. The German trails brother - and current championship leader - Michael Schumacher by 14 points, while Montoya is just one mark adrift of the Ferrari ace. Should Schumacher Jr not be passed fit for any reason, expect regular test driver Marc Gene to take his place at Monza.

 

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