Heidfeld, who was left without a drive when BMW Sauber pulled out of the sport at the end of 2009, had hoped to race for Mercedes, but was left with just a reserve seat following Michael SchumacherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s return to Formula 1.
He then joined Pirelli in August as the tyre manufacturer began its tyre development programme, completing tests at Mugello and Paul Ricard with a view to securing a race seat for 2011 – but the door has opened at Sauber and Heidfeld will now return for his third spell with the Hinwil-based team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the German.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“After the last few months IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Speaking about the decision to drop de la Rosa, team principal Peter Sauber said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was a hard decision for me to make as 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.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As well as racing for Sauber, Heidfeld will take part in a further test for Pirelli at Jerez, but it is unclear whether the German will complete their development programme.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nick is testing with us at Jerez this week and after that we’ll sit down with him and discuss the possibilities,Ã¢â‚¬Â said a Pirelli spokesman. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The plan is to hold on to him, if possible, but obviously we need to see if there’s a logistical solution there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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