Ralf Schumacher has admitted that being told to miss the United States Grand Prix was a hard thing to accept, despite suffering his second sizeable accident in as many years at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As he had with Williams in 2004, the German made heavy contact with the outside retaining wall in turn 13, the banked right-hander leading on to the main straight at the Brickyard circuit. This time around, Schumacher was able to climb unaided from his damaged car but, after visiting the circuit medical centre, was referred to a local hospital after reporting blurred vision.

Despite claiming that he felt fit to take part in Saturday's free practice sessions, the Toyota driver was advised not to return to the cockpit this weekend, allowing reserve Ricardo Zonta to take over alongside Jarno Trulli.

"I'm basically 80 per cent fit to drive, but the FIA and [official doctor] Gary [Hartstein] decided not to let me get in the car because having another hard impact within the 24 or 48 hours again, the risk was too high," he said.

"I must say I'm relatively happy [with my condition] - there's nothing severe really. Obviously, I don't feel 100 per cent - after a crash like that, it's obvious. It's a tough decision to take. Personally, I feel quite alright and I thought I might be able to drive today, but obviously I accept the decision. It's a shame not to be there for the team, but I think Ricardo is going to do a good job anyway."

Schumacher's explanation of the accident coincided with Michelin's report of a puncture.

"I just lost the left rear tyre on the entry to the high speed corner," he claimed, "We don't know why yet. I couldn't believe that it happened again at the same spot. I had the same brake test as last year when it happened. I was just a bit more lucky this time. I had a different angle [of impact], but I'm sure [the SAFER barrier] made my life a bit easier at that moment, so thanks to the FIA.

"We also had a tyre problem on Ricardo's car, and there are many tyre problems across the pit-lane, so I'll be surprised to see how that ends up. I think it's going to be a very risky race this time."

Asked if he felt any trepidation about tackling the Indianapolis track, Schumacher said that he didn't feel jinxed - despite two similar accidents in as many years..

"No, it was just bad luck, I'd say," he admitted, "Let's try next time, next year, and find out how it works out.

"I am going to be back for the next race, that's pretty clear. It was obviously a safety move not to let me drive under the circumstances. If I had another severe crash like this year or last year, it would have been not very good for me. Right now, we'll check the flights. I might go home."

 

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