GP Lotus-Renault have today confirmed that veteran German Nick Heidfeld will stand in for the injured Robert Kubica, starting from next week’s test session at the Circuit de Catalunya. He will race alongside Vitaly Petrov when the season gets underway in Bahrain on 13th March.
“I would have liked to come back to Formula One in different circumstances,â€ said the German. “But I’m proud to have been given this chance. Everything has happened so quickly, but I’ve been very impressed by what I have seen so far in terms of the facilities and the dedication of the people at Enstone.â€
Heidfeld enjoyed an impressive first test session with the team last week, edging out Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari to record the fastest time for the session, whilst still coming to grips with the car. He could not have asked for a better way to stake his claim for the seat, with his rival and for the seat, Lotus-Renault third driver Bruno Senna putting in an underwhelming performance the following day.
Heidfeld quickly got used to working with the team with Team Principal Eric Boullier impressed at Heidfeld’s ability to clearly communicate and provide feedback. This is perhaps what ultimately landed the deal for Heidfeld, with Boullier today adding, “We gave Nick a chance in Jerez last week and he really impressed us. He’s quick, experienced and is strong technically with his feedback and understanding of the car. We always said that the priority was to have an experienced driver in the car and we feel he is the ideal man for the job. We are pleased to welcome Nick to the team and look forward to a strong start to the season with him and Vitaly in Bahrain.â€
The team also took the opportunity to announce their plans for the upcoming Barcelona test session, posting the driving schedule on their website. On Friday Morning Petrov and Heidfeld will both man the cockpit for pit-stop practice. In the afternoon Petrov will return to cock-pit. He will also drive for the team on Sunday, with Heidfeld in the car for the whole of Saturday and Monday.
I’m sure all of us at Forumula1.com congratulate Heidfeld on his new position, and we’ll be keenly discussing his progress on our forums!