Peter Sauber, whose Swiss team is pushing to catch Renault in the constructors’ standings, has admitted he thinks the Nick Heidfeld affair is only about “economic problems”.
He is apparently referring to speculation that Renault has dumped former Sauber driver Heidfeld because his replacement Bruno Senna promises millions in Brazilian sponsorship.
And there have also been long and widespread rumours this year about the Enstone-based team’s financial situation.
Sauber told Blick newspaper: “I do not expect that Senna can offer the team (Renault) the same driving skills as Heidfeld.”
Germany’s Speed Week believes German Heidfeld, 34, is pressing his legal claim in order to collect his EUR 260,000 per race fee for the remainder of the 2011 calendar.
Heidfeld’s management on Thursday confirmed that the case is being pushed to the London High Court, with a “full trial” scheduled for after Monza.
“This position (the appointment of Senna) is disputed by the team for apparently purely financial reasons,” Heidfeld’s lawyer Dr Stefan Seitz said.
And the driver’s manager Andre Theuerzeit said the plan is to have Heidfeld back in the black R31 in Singapore.
“I still have a clear contract and I want to drive,” said Heidfeld, who surprised many by actually appearing in the Spa paddock on Thursday in a Renault team shirt.
Swiss newspaper Blick speculated that it was for legal reasons, “to show that he was ready” to drive in Belgium and beyond.
Auto Motor und Sport quotes Heidfeld as saying: “A racing driver always wants to race and that’s why I’m not at all upset at Bruno. He obviously wants to race as well.”