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Ide replaced by Montagny for Super Aguri

NEWS STORY
04/05/2006

On advice from the FIA former Renault tester Franck Montagny will replace struggling Japanese driver Yuji Ide for Super Aguri in this weekend's European Grand Prix. Ide, 31, will take up Montagny's role as driver of the team's third car in Friday practice only.

"We accept the advice offered by the FIA to allow Yuji to accrue the mileage he requires to improve in Formula One during our testing days only," said team principal Aguri Suzuki in a statement.

Ide's short career in F1 has not been a happy one. At the San Marino GP he was reprimanded by the stewards for causing an accident that rolled Midland's Christijan Albers into the gravel on the very first lap. He also had a 'pit incident' in the Bahrain race in early March. Several teams and drivers have voiced safety concerns about his driving and their reaction to the news was not exactly forgiving..

Christian Klien said "Sometimes he has really different lines to us. Maybe that's because they drive on the other side in Japan"

"Without judging Ide's driving, I don't think it will change a lot if he does more testing," said BMW's Nick Heidfeld.

Kimi Raikkonen added, "In Monaco it could have been a bit disastrous. He's a nice guy but he was quite slow and then he was spinning quite often so you never knew if he was going to spin in front of you when you were close to him."

Ide was a runner-up in last year's Formula Nippon championship, but had barely any F1 testing and never looked confident in a car derived from a four-year-old Arrows.

"The team has made every effort to ensure that Yuji settled into his new F1 surroundings and I think that he has coped incredibly well under the circumstances," said Suzuki. "I wish that I could have given Yuji more time in the car before the start of the season, but with the team being put together so rapidly we were unable to allow him the proper testing that he should have experienced."

He added, "I will continue to look after Yuji's interests and support his continuing efforts within the team, including his path back to a Formula One race seat".

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