Schumacher aiming for comeback drive in China

Ralf Schumacher is set to return to Formula One at next week's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, following his 12-week lay-off after injuring his back in a crash during the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis in June.

Ralf Schumacher is set to return to Formula One at next week's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, following his 12-week lay-off after injuring his back in a crash during the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis in June.

Michael Schumacher's 29-year-old brother drove a BMW Williams at Silverstone yesterday for the first time since the incident, and now awaits final clearance from the FIA medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins.

"I have no back pain any more and everything has gone well," Schumacher reported. "I am looking forward to racing again this year."

The former world champion Jacques Villeneuve visited Renault's Enstone factory in the UK yesterday, and is expected to test one of the team's cars at Silverstone tomorrow as a likely replacement for the Toyota-bound Jarno Trulli in the final three races of the season. The Italian has had disappointing performances in the three most recent races.

Meanwhile, the technical working group comprising teams' technical directors have agreed new safety measures for 2005 which include thicker head restraints, stronger wheel tethers and Kevlar skinning of vulnerable aerodynamic and suspension components to reduce the possibility of creating razor sharp shards of carbon fibre during accidents.

They are thought to have generated the puncture that caused the crash that resulted in Schumacher's injuries.

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