Tag Archives: Nick heidfeld

Grosjean to replace Heidfeld at Pirelli

Nick Heidfeld, at the recent test for Pirelli in Jerez, will be replaced by Romain Grosjean

Nick Heidfeld, at the recent test for Pirelli in Jerez, will be replaced by Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean will take over tyre testing duties at the Pirelli squad, as next year’s Formula 1 tyre suppliers claim they don’t want to unfairly hand an advantage to teams interested in Nick Heidfeld, who has gained significant experience from testing these tyres already.

Heidfeld was announced as Pedro de la Rosa’s successor at the Sauber team on Tuesday, and many rumours claimed this was because of his testing with Pirelli. Paul Hembery, motorsport director of Pirelli, explains that they wan to avoid “favouring any individual team”:

"We’d like to thank Nick for his very valuable contribution to 
our tyre development programme and we wish him all the best for 
the future.

In order to avoid favouring any individual team, we have jointly 
decided to release Nick from his contract and now we have chosen 
Romain to test for us in Monza. He’s packed a lot of experience 
into a short space of time, including all our GP3 tyre 
development, so I’m sure he’ll be able to give us some very
useful feedback.

The tests here at Jerez have gone extremely well and we 
completed all the work that we planned over the two days. 
Now we move onto Monza, where our task will be to finalise 
the construction before we focus further on compounds."

Romain Grosjean took over from Nelson Piquet Jr after the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, but, like Piquet, failed to score a single point throughout his racing time that season. Despite the fact that he only had a few races’ experience in F1, and at times was only 0.3 seconds off Fernando Alonso, he was dropped from the team for 2010.

It’s good to see Grosjean get the opportunity to return, as he never got a fair chance at Renault last year.

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.

First pictures of Heidfeld’s test with Pirelli tyres

Yesterday Nick Heidfeld began a 4-day test at the Mugello circuit to test out the Pirelli tyres that they will be using for the 2011 Formula 1 season. He was driving a Toyota TF109, which had been painted all-white, seeing as Toyota don’t seem to own the car any more.

If it wasn’t for a fault with the blog, I would have been the first blog or website to have it up. Here are the first pictures of the test at Mugello:

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Heidfeld released from Mercedes to test for Pirelli

Nick Heidfeld is leaving Mercedes to join the Pirelli tyre suppliers

Nick Heidfeld is leaving Mercedes to join the Pirelli tyre suppliers

Mercedes GP have confirmed that they have released their test and reserve driver Nick Heidfeld, to allow him to test for the Pirelli tyre company, in preparations for the 2011 season. It is unclear whether this means Heidfeld can get a drive with a team next year or not, as it depends on how long the tests last.

The first tyre test will start today at the Mugello circuit, behind the wheel of a Toyota TF109, which has now been confirmed by Pirelli. As well as these tests during this season, all of the teams will be allowed to try the tyres out, in a 4-day test in Abu Dhabi after the season concludes.

Paul Hembery has explained why Nick was the ideal choice for their test driver:

“We’re delighted to welcome Nick into the Pirelli family, and
we’re confident that he’ll do a great job for us. The role of
test driver is a crucial one, so we were looking for a driver
who had plenty of recent Formula One experience, the speed to
push our new tyres as hard as possible, and the consistency to
provide reliable simulations, as well as the analytical skills
to relay information accurately to our engineers.

Nick fits the bill in every respect and we’re very pleased to
have secured his services and obviously thankful to Mercedes GP
Petronas for agreeing to release Nick from his contract. As for
the car, we have a policy of complete impartiality, so we did
not want to favour any existing team. The Toyota was the perfect
solution, as it is a contemporary racing machine with proven
speed and reliability but without links to any of the
manufacturers currently competing in Formula One. I’m confident
that we have an extremely good package that will give us every
opportunity to maximise the potential of our tyres prior to
the start of next season.”

Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld has said:

"First of all I would like to thank Ross Brawn, Norbert Haug 
and Nick Fry for allowing me the opportunity to become Pirelli’s 
official test driver.

The team has always said that they would not stand in my way 
if such a chance arose and they have kindly allowed me to take 
up this exciting new role. I would like to thank everyone at 
Mercedes GP for the great cooperation that we have had this 
year.

I have greatly enjoyed supporting the team in my position as 
Reserve Driver and have felt welcome right from the outset. 
It was impressive to have the opportunity to work with the 
current World Champions and I wish the team all the best for 
the remainder of the season and beyond.

It’s a great privilege for me to join Pirelli in order to 
carry out this vital work and I am very grateful to Mercedes 
GP Petronas for releasing me from my contract to take on this 
role. Through the experience I have built up over the years, 
I’m confident that I will be able to provide Pirelli with 
some important feedback regarding the development of next 
year’s tyres.

I’ve got a lot to give but I haven’t been driving so much 
this year, so it is good to get started! Together, I’m sure 
that we can create a dynamic range of tyres that will make 
Formula One an even more exciting sport in the future.”

One interesting thing to note about this, though, is the fact that Nick will soon gain extensive knowledge of next year’s tyres, which obviously will play a huge part in the performance of the cars. With this information on board, he may well be in huge demand for a drive next year, as the teams strive to gain as much detail on the tyres as they can.

Heidfeld to test Pirelli F1 tyres

Nick Heidfeld has been reportedly hired to test out Pirelli’s F1 tyres for next year, starting with a 3-day test on Monday. The Mercedes GP test and reserve driver will be the first driver to try out and improve the tyres that will be supplied to the entire F1 grid starting next year.

It is believed that he will be driving the Toyota TF109, which is the car that Toyota used in the 2009 season, and also the one that will be soon taken apart and sold to a new team. While the test has not yet been conformed by Pirelli, it is believed that it will take place at Ferrari’s Mugello circuit.

Newspapers AS and Bild have previously reported this story, but now it is almost certain to be announced soon. Also, there are unconfirmed rumours that there will be 5 more tests this year with Heidfeld, not including the upcoming one at Mugello.

Renault: Money not incentive for Petrov interest

Eric Boullier, team boss of Renault

Eric Boullier, team boss of Renault

Renault team boss Eric Boullier has denied that the team are looking into having Vitaly Petrov as a driver because of his sponsorship, saying that the first priority is talent.

The Frenchman, who relaced Flavio Briatore as team principal last year, says that he is considering many other drivers.

He told ESPN:

“I am not just talking to five drivers but actually to everyone who does not have an F1 contract. I have been speaking with Nick Heidfeld (now confirmed as Mercedes’ reserve driver) and also with Takuma Sato, Christian Klien and Romain Grosjean, amongst others.”

“I am looking for talent first and foremost, but then after that I do need to consider the sponsorship opportunities; people say we are only looking at Petrov because he is bringing a lot of money, but he is not the richest driver we are talking to.”

So I was right in saying that Renault were interested in Klien, Sato and Grosjean. But, none of these 4 have really proved themselves. Klien seems to be pushed aside a lot, and tends to go as test driver. Sato is a bit dangerous for a team that wants to distance itself from crashing (owned!!). And Grosjean does deserve another chance, but I doubt that anyone will offer it to him.

Petrov has shown form in the GP2 series, but possibly not enough of it. This may leave Renault in a tough spot. If they wanted proper talent, they should have gone for Heidfeld while he was still there. Fisichella is still in the market, however.

At the end of this, however, I still think Renault will sign Petrov. MegaFon (who sponsor Renault) are underdstood to have interest in the Russian, he has huge backing behind him, and the GP2 guys always deserve a chance.

Heidfeld joins Mercedes as test driver

Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld

Former BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld has joined Mercedes GP as a test driver. He joins the Germans of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes GP, already being referred to as “Team Germany”, will unveil Heidfeld on January 25th. His manager, Andre Theuerzeit, confirmed the move today to German magazine Bild, saying:

“Nick (Heidfeld) will fully concentrate on supporting the team’s main drivers as the team’s test and reserve driver. Nick focused on a seat with one of the top teams but unfortunately we were unable to sign him up.”

As relieved as I am to see him in F1, this is a waste of his talent. Test drivers will get practically no driving time this year thanks to the testing ban, and Nick could have moved to one of the newer teams or Renault instead.

I’m sure Mercedes will be delighted at having an all-German line-up, but it’s a hollow move, as a great talent has been wasted for too long.

Kubica may start testing alone

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica

Renault team boss Eric Boullier has said that first driver Robert Kubica may start the testing season alone, if the team does not find a second driver in time.

The Renault R30 will be released on the 31st January, and will begin testing the next day. However, there are still many doubts regarding the second driver.

Boullier told Autosport:

“It’s not decided yet, very frankly.”

“We are still looking at several drivers available on the market. Two of them are experienced, two of them are rookies. We are now the last established team [without two drivers] and the situation is very different than in July, when you could discuss with everybody.”

There are many rumours that Nick Heidfeld would rejoin Kubica at Renault, having spent 2 years with him in BMW Sauber. Boullier refuses to deny these rumours, saying:

“It would be a lie to say ‘no’. Definitely it’s a different question because he has spent so many years with Robert; the question mark is if we want to put them together again or not – but he is on the list.”

Apart from this, it is known that Ho-Pin-Tung, who tested for Renault in December and is part of Boullier’s driver managment business, is also being considered for the seat.

However, in my opinion, it would be madness to throw away a talent like Heidfeld for someone who finished last at all 3 tests out of 11 drivers.Nick comes with years of experience, and is incredibly reliable as well. Yet, he continues to be ignored, even when he beats stars of the future like Kubica. It would be terible not to see him in F1 next year.

De la Rosa joins BMW Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

BMW Sauber have announced that Pedro de la Rosa will race for the team this year, alongside Kamui Kobayashi.

The 38-year-old has been the McLaren test driver since 2003. He has competed in 71 Grands Prix since 1999.  He started his F1 career with a point in Melbourne with Arrows. He spent 2 years with them, until he moved to Jaguar in 2001. After 2 years there, he became the McLaren test driver. His last Grand Prix was at Interlagos 2006, when he was substituting for Juan Pablo Montoya.

It is believed that De la Rosa was signed so as to bring experience to the team and his team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, who has only raced in 2 Grands Prix so far.

Also, it appears that he has backing from Universia, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This orginisation is itself heavily supported by the bank Santander, who have a sponsorship deal regarding fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one.”

“I don’t expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa said: “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I’m really excited about the season with Peter Sauber’s team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Pedro back, as he certainly deserves a good drive after many faithful years of testing. The fact that he got the fastest lap in Brazil 2006 (only raced 8 races that season, and not since) proves that he has lost little of his expertise.

However, I am now much more concerned about Nick Heidfeld. The German is now left with very few drives available: Renault, Campos or USF1. I would be very surprised if he didn’t get a seat for 2010, as his experience and dependability are surely valuable for many teams.

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