Webber is key to driver market

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As faux pas go, Jarno Trulli's last-lap glitch in last weekend's French Grand Prix, which dropped him from third to fourth within sight of the final corner, runs close Sir Jack Brabham's last-corner crunch that lost him the Monaco Grand Prix in 1970.

The Italian could scarcely have chosen a worse place, or time, to leave Rubens Barrichello enough of a gap to squeeze his Ferrari through to snatch the final podium place. Renault are still seething here, and Trulli's campaign to have his contract renewed at a greater rate of remuneration has been derailed, simultaneously throwing the driver market wide open.

Ralf Schumacher's drive with Toyota should be made official this weekend, but there may be other movements before the season ends. Mark Webber is the man in the spotlight as Williams-BMW's choice for 2005 as Schumacher's replacement. With the latter invalided out, probably for the rest of the season, the chances are increasing that Webber will find himself switching from Jaguar to Williams before the 2004 season is over, though Jaguar would want financial compensation. However, it is not likely to be until the Hungarian Grand Prix in August that any accommodation will be reached.

David Coulthard gave his clearest indication yet that he will keep racing after his McLaren contract runs out this season. He may be in the frame to partner Schumacher at Toyota (together with Trulli and Webber), but Jaguar could choose to partner him with a rising star.

"I am firmly focused on racing next year," Coulthard said. "The primary goal has always got to be to get performance from the car, then get the financial package sorted. That's the order in which I work." Music to Jaguar's ears.