D-Day for Ide

Franck Montagny, Renault, Melbourne, 2005Frenchman Franck Montagny will make his Formula One debut at this weekend’s European Grand Prix. He will replace the under-fire Japanese driver Yuji Ide at Super Aguri-Honda.

Ide started the season with no prior Formula One experience. He struggled to match the pace of more experienced team mate Takuma Sato and in Melbourne compromised the qualifying efforts of Honda stablemate Rubens Barrichello. The San Marino Grand Prix was understood to be his last chance to impress the team to gain reprieve, but at the start of the race he caused a dangerous accident with Midland F1′s Christijan Albers. The FIA are understood to have pressured Super Aguri to give Ide at least a temporary break.

Montagny will become the first French F1 race driver since Olivier Panis retired shortly before the end of the 2004 season. His appointment contradicts the previous aim of the Super Aguri team to run only Japanese drivers. Montagny previously tested for Renault (pictured).

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