Williams-BMW test driver and Jaguar Racing discard Antonio Pizzonia will deputize for the injured Ralf Schumacher at this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Will the Brazilian fare better than fellow test driver Marc Gene did in the previous two races?

Williams-BMW test driver and Jaguar Racing discard Antonio Pizzonia will deputize for the injured Ralf Schumacher at this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Will the Brazilian fare better than fellow test driver Marc Gene did in the previous two races?


The Grove-based team this week confirmed that Pizzonia, who was dumped by Jaguar Racing and replaced by former Minardi driver Justin Wilson shortly before the German Grand Prix last year, will drive the FW26 at Hockenheim. The team's official third driver Marc Gené was behind the wheel in France and Britain, but Williams-BMW decided to give Pizzonia a chance after the Spaniard failed to make an impact at either grands prix.


As a consequence of Pizzonia’s promotion, the Brazilian’s former team-mate at Jaguar Racing, Mark Webber, will not be able to race for Williams-BMW this year. The Australian is widely expected to join the Grove-based team in 2005 (a formal announcement is due after Sunday's grand prix) and many F1 observers believe Webber could have joined Williams-BMW to replace Ralf as early as the Hungarian Grand Prix this year.


But with Pizzonia in the FW26, the team has exhausted its allocation of four Formula One drivers for the season. Sources report that the Grove-based team made Jaguar an offer for 27- year-old Webber's current F1 contract but a counter-offer was deemed “too expensive”.


Meanwhile, Williams-BMW ace Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the German Grand Prix last year, is hoping for a repeat performance on Sunday. The Colombian had pole position at Hockenheim last year and won the race by over a minute from McLaren's David Coulthard. However, Williams-BMW was not a front-running team at Silverstone and Montoya isn't expecting an easy time in Germany.


"The last victory I had was at Hockenheim last year and it would be good to win again this year," he said. "It would also be a great boost for the team, and increase our points tally, but we know that it won't be easy as our competitors are more aggressive than ever. Nevertheless, we have always performed well at this track and that gives us more confidence."


The Colombian also welcomed Pizzonia as his temporary team-mate: "Williams will have an all South American driver line up at the German Grand Prix, so I wish Antonio all the best. I'll also be doing my best to score points and to help him do the same."