Nick Heidfeld has been confirmed at Sauber with immediate effect, in a move which sees Pedro de la Rosa left out in the cold.
Following last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, a number of motorsport sources revealed that that Hinwil-based outfit had been looking to snap up the German driver, in a bid to better understand its car.
Subsequently, it has been confirmed that a deal has now been completed which will see the former-BMW ace will now team up with Kamui Kobayashi for the remainder of the season.
“It was a hard decision for me to make as a team principal and I want to thank Pedro for his professionalism,” Team principal Peter Sauber explained in a statement on the team’s website. “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 expressed his joy at the move, which sees him return to Sauber after two previous stints.
“I’m looking forward like crazy to having the opportunity to go racing again in a good car in Formula 1 from the Singapore Grand Prix onwards. After the last months I’m even more motivated than ever.” said the 33-year-old.
“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.”
Although De la Rosa admitted his shock at the decision, the veteran Spaniard says that he remains committed to finding a drive for next season.
“I am surprised by the team´s decision, but I respect it and would like to wish everyone good luck for the remainder of the season,” he said. “I still intend to be in Formula 1 for 2011”.
De la Rosa’s return to the sport has not went entirely to plan in 2010, with the 39-year-old only scoring six points for Sauber.
Meanwhile Pirelli remain hopeful that it can continue its relationship with Heidfeld, despite the German’s return to competitive action.
“Nick is testing with us at Jerez this week and after that we’ll sit down with him and discuss the possibilities,â€ a Pirelli spokesperson told GPUpdate.net.
“The plan is to hold on to him, if possible, but obviously we need to see if there’s a logistical solution there.â€