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Ralf Schumacher back behind wheel


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Ralf returns to the track in testing at Silverstone after his crash in the U.S.

MONZA, Italy -- German Ralf Schumacher will finally return to the cockpit at Silverstone on Tuesday after spending the last three months on the sidelines through injury.

The 28-year-old fractured two vertebrae when he crashed his Williams in the United States Grand Prix on June 20.

But he will be back testing in England on Tuesday in preparation for a possible racing return in the Chinese Grand Prix on September 26.

He was passed fit before Sunday's Italian Grand Prix but his insurers refused to allow him to get back in the car before a minimum recovery period of 12 weeks.

"Ralf was passed medically fit and mentally fit - he had some cognitive tests as well which he sailed through, of course," said team principal Sir Frank Williams.

"But when the insurance doctor and also the Prof (Formula One's doctor Sid Watkins) separately examined the damage they said this is typical of a minimum of 12 weeks requirement."

The 12-week deadline passed on Sunday and BMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen, who has been desperate for him to return as soon as possible, confirmed Schumacher will be in the car for the test.

His participation in the inaugural Grand Prix in Shanghai, however, remains unconfirmed and will be decided upon after further medical examinations following this week's planned three-day test at Silverstone.

Schumacher has been replaced by test drivers Antonio Pizzonia, of Brazil, and Spaniard Mark Gene in the last six races.

But when asked if the German would be back in the car team boss Williams added: "If he is fit, absolutely."

Schumacher currently has 12 points and if he does return for the first of the season-ending races he will have three races remaining at Williams before he moves to Toyota next season.


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