Nick Heidfeld takes Pedro de la Rosa’s Sauber seat
Sauber have confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will rejoin the team with immediate effect, replacing Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa from the Singapore Grand Prix onwards.
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 Schumacher’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.
“I’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,” said the German.
“After the last few months I’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.”
Speaking about the decision to drop de la Rosa, team principal Peter Sauber said: “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.”
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.
“Nick is testing with us at Jerez this week and after that we’ll sit down with him and discuss the possibilities,” said a Pirelli spokesman. “The plan is to hold on to him, if possible, but obviously we need to see if there’s a logistical solution there.”