The paddock rumour mill was alive and well at Silverstone over the weekend, but it appears that one suggestion has more credibility than may have originally been attributed to it.

What began as speculation that Williams - and more particularly, BMW - would like to see a German alongside Juan Montoya at Hockenheim could yet see Nick Heidfeld released from his Jordan contract ahead of next weekend's race.

Team boss Eddie Jordan has said all season that he would like to further Heidfeld's cause by recommending him to one of the sport's leading outfits and, following Ralf Schumacher's accident at the USGP last month, an unforeseen opportunity may have arisen.

Although Schumacher is adamant that he will be fit for the Hungarian GP after F1's mid-season 'break', there is no guarantee that that will be the case, or that the team would want to take a chance on his condition, despite Frank Williams apparently claiming that, without the German on board, the team was slipping back down the field. Schumacher has also been confirmed as a Toyota driver for 2005, leaving Williams with two berths to fill, and this may preclude a return to action for the Grove team.

If Heidfeld is to replace current stand-in Marc Gene at Williams, he would really need to have concluded talks with the team in the next day or so, as the final test sessions of the summer take place in the coming week, and missing it would leave him desperately short of experience in the quirky FW26.

The speculation, which has been picked up by several sections of the media, would appear to rule out any chance of Mark Webber joining Williams for the balance of the year. Indeed, Heidfeld appears to be the only possible alternative to Gene, who is likely to continue alongside Montoya should no deal be done.

Jordan would have a ready-made replacement for the German, with Timo Glock having impressed the team both in Friday morning practice at grands prix and also on his race debut in Montr?al. The Glock-Giorgio Pantano pairing would be short on F1 experience however.

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