Daily Archives: September 14, 2010

Nick Heidfeld to replace de la Rosa at Sauber

Nick Heidfeld has joined Sauber for the rest of the year

Nick Heidfeld has joined Sauber for the rest of the year

It has been confirmed today that Nick Heidfeld will replace Pedro de la Rosa at the Sauber team for the final 5 races of the season. De la Rosa has been struggling for pace in comparison to team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, and Heidfeld has been freed of his reserve driver role at Mercedes because of his Pirelli tyre testing duties.

Nick returns to the team he drove for from 2001 to 2003, and 2006 to 2009, where he has made 120 race appearances. His many years of racing experience, combined with his extensive knowledge of next year’s Pirelli tyres, have encouraged the Sauber team to take him on for the rest of the year. Peter Sauber said:

"It was a hard decision for me to make as a team principal and I 
want to thank Pedro for his professionalism. By signing Nick we 
have a driver we know extremely well who will help us to further 
judge the comparative potential of our car."

Heidfeld said this on the signing:

"I’m looking forward like crazy to having the opportunity to go 
racing again in a good car in Formula One from the Singapore 
Grand Prix onwards.

After the last months I’m even more motivated than ever. For 
me it is like coming home, as I raced for seven years in total 
for the team from Hinwil. Without doubt I will be feeling at 
home straight away and this should help me to familiarise myself 
as soon as possible with the car. I want to thank Peter Sauber 
for the faith he has put in me."

While I’m very happy that one of the most under-rated drivers on the grid has got a race seat again, we have to remember that Sauber will have been influenced by Heidfeld’s knowledge of the Pirelli tyre. At the moment, Sauber seem to have some of the best tyre conservation rates on the grid, and Nick will be able to help the team exploit the extra grip available to them through next year’s tyre switch.

As for Pedro, it’s disappointing to say, but he didn’t perform well enough. You could certainly argue the retirement rate (one-third of all races this year) has severely damaged his chances, but the fact of the matter is that Kamui Kobayashi completely out-classed him, and Sauber are in need of more impreovement. Overall, a good call by the Sauber team, and good news for Heidfeld.

Italian Grand Prix stats and facts

Fernando Alonso scored his second hat-trick result at Monza in 4 years, while scoring the team’s first pole position in nearly 2 years. Here are the stats and facts from the Italian Grand Prix:

  • This is Fernando Alonso’s 24th race win of his career. He now has as many as Juan Manuel Fangio, one more than Nelson Piquet, and one less than Niki Lauda and Jim Clark.
  • He now has 19 pole positions, 1 more than Lewis Hamilton, Mario Andretti and Rene Arnoux, and one less than Damon Hill.
  • This was Ferrari’s 213th race win. However, it was their first pole position since Brazil 2008, when Felipe Massa was in the front spot.
  • Fernando Alonso has now led at least 1 lap of 58 different races, which is as many as Nelson Piquet, 3 more than Kimi Raikkonen and Nigel Mansell, but 4 less than David Coulthard.
  • Also, it was his second hat-trick (pole, win, and fastest lap) at Monza since 2007. He has 4 in total, as many as Felipe Massa, Jacky Ickx, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart.
  • He also got his 16th fastest lap, 1 less than Rubens Barrichello.
  • The last time that a Ferrari driver scored pole position in his first appearance for the team at Monza was back in 1974, with Niki Lauda. However, it is the first time in Formula 1 history that a Ferrari driver, in his first appearance at Monza for Ferrari, has scored both the pole position and the win.
  • This was the first time since the 2009 Italian GP that a Red Bull was not on the front row. Also, 6th place was Sebastian Vettel’s worst qualifying performance so far this year.
  • This is the 20th race in a row that Red Bull have scored points, a record which has been going on since the 2009 European Grand Prix.
  • This was Jenson Button’s first front-row start for McLaren.
  • Bruno Senna had his 8th retirement of the year, 1 more than Pedro de la Rosa. 7 of these have been mechanical, another record for this season.
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