Heidfeld appears to have finished in F1
Heidfeld’s F1 options fading No options on the table for 2012 F1 season following confirmation of German veteran’s split with Renault
Nick Heidfeld’s Formula 1 career appears to be over after he agreed a settlement with former employer Renault.
The 34-year-old German had been pursuing legal action against the team after being dropped in favour of Bruno Senna.
AUTOSPORT understands that he did secure an out-of-court pay-off from Renault, which had him under contract until the end of the season as a replacement for the injured Robert Kubica. Senna has now been confirmed as a Renault driver for the rest of the 2011 season, as reported by AUTOSPORT last week.
The agreement means that Heidfeld is without a drive for the rest of the year. With few seats available for next season and many of those requiring a driver with a budget, he is unlikely to find a place on the grid in 2012. A switch to the DTM with BMW is his most likely option and talks are understood to have already taken place with the marque. Heidfeld has already said that he is determined to continue to race at a high level.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to be leaving Renault in the middle of the season,” said Heidfeld. “I thought I could still make a big contribution to the team, but I have to see things as they are and I want to turn my attention to the future. I would like to wish all the friends I made at Enstone a successful end to the season. One thing is for sure
Heidfeld: hot property after ’99 F3000 victory
– I’ll be back racing at the highest level soon.”
Heidfeld came into F1 with Prost in 2000 with a promising reputation after winning the Formula 3000 title as a McLaren junior driver in 1999. He went on to drive for Sauber, Jordan, Williams, BMW and Renault. After BMW pulled out of F1 at the end of 2009, he was without a race drive for much of the following season, serving first as Mercedes reserve driver and then as Pirelli’s tyre tester before returning to race for Sauber in the final five races of 2010. After initially missing out on a seat for the past two seasons, it’s unlikely that a late opportunity will present itself for a third consecutive campaign.
If, as is likely, Heidfeld does not return to F1, he will hold the unenviable record of having claimed more grand prix podium finishes – 13 - than any other driver without a victory (see panel, right). l Romain Grosjean, who is now Renault’s main reserve driver, completed his first official day of driving for the team since 2009 in a straight-line test at Duxford last week. Technical director James Allison said the test “allowed us to seek a final ‘top up’ of gains on the R31 with only minimal impact on the Enstone CFD and windtunnel programme. We came home with a couple of items which will find their way on to the car in the coming races”.
HEIDFELD IN NUMBERS
259 25 13
10 autosport.com September 8 2011