Nick Heidfeld: the driver debates

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Nick Heidfeld is yet to score his first Grand Prix win
Nick Heidfeld is yet to score his first Grand Prix win

Nick Heidfeld out-scored team mate Robert Kubica at BMW in 2007 – but this year the tables have been turned: Kubica has out-qualified and often out-raced Heidfeld.

Should Heidfeld keep his seat at BMW for next year? Give your verdict on Nick Heidfeld below.

Nick Heidfeld was backed by McLaren and Mercedes in his junior career, but made his F1 debut with Prost before moving to Sauber.

Heidfeld’s fans often point out that he out-scored team mate Kimi Raikkonen at Sauber in 2001, but McLaren passed over Heidfeld in favour of Raikkonen. Heidfeld spent two more years at Sauber before being dropped and ending up at Jordan.

But his perseverance paid off and Williams tested him alongside Antonio Pizzonia to decide who would race for them in 2005. Heidfeld got the nod, and impressed by taking pole position at the Nurburgring and finishing second at Monaco.

As BMW chose to split from Williams at the end of the year to take over Sauber, Heidfeld was an obvious choice of driver for team boss Mario Theissen. Heidfeld easily had the beating of Jacques Villeneuve early in the season, but when new team mate Robert Kubica was drafted in halfway through the season Heidfeld had to up his game.

He out-scored Kubica through 2007 but this year his team has had the upper hand and scored BMW’s first win at Montreal, passing Heidfeld on the way. That must be galling for Heidfeld, who has now scored more second places without winning a race than any other driver in F1 history.

Heidfeld has had trouble getting the most out of his tyres in qualifying and his average starting position of 8.82 compares poorly with Kubica’s 4.45.

However he is within eight points of his team mate in the championship and is the only driver to finish every race this year. Should he keep his seat with the team for another year? And will he ever score that maiden win?

Nick Heidfeld has scored six second place finishes in his career - but no wins
Nick Heidfeld has scored six second place finishes in his career - but no wins

41 comments on “Nick Heidfeld: the driver debates”

  1. I think Heidfeld is good enough to keep his seat for next year. He’s done a good job for BMW over the past 3 years, beating Villeneuve easily (although he’s not much of a yardstick) and performing well against Kubica on the whole, even if Robert has had the measure of him this year. He deserves a chance to beat Kubica in the new 2009 car, and he certainly deserves a Grand Prix win.

  2. I think that Heidfeld should keep his seat at BMW for next year. Even though McLaren ended up making the right choice with Raikkonen, I felt that Heidfeld kind of deserved that McLaren seat at the same time.
    His perseverance with Sauber and Jordan really paid off, just when I thought he was going to fade away.

    Despite Kubica’s superior form this year over Heidfeld – he is only 8 points behind him – his fantastic constency obviously paying off – and if his qualifying woes (and BMWs recent lack of pace) are rectified by Valencia/Spa time – Heidfeld may even overtake Kubica in the final rounds. Heck, I feel he might even have a chance to win his first race if BMWs form returns for the final rounds.

    So, in short:
    Should he keep his seat for another year? Yes.
    Will he ever score that maiden win? In 2008: Unlikely but not impossible; 2009 or beyond: Definitely.

  3. Somone once told me that Jacques Villeneuve once said that Nick Heidfeld is the best car developer in F1. I haven’t been able to verify this quote, but I trust the person who passed it along to me.

    Villeneuve isn’t exactly the most credible person associated with Formula One, but I do think there may be something to this claim. He has been lauded before for his ability to work with engineers, and I don’t think that it’s much of a coincidence that his arrival at Sauber has coincided with a boost in performance (each time).

    I think Nick deserves to keep his ride with BMW. He’s a smooth driver who has had several great races this year despite lackluster qualifying (he’s actually got more 2nd place finishes than any other driver this year!). He’s most certainly a quick guy, as he’s beaten Raikkonen, Massa, and Kubica in the past as a teammate to each. He’s only 8 points behind Kubica right now, and he’s outscored him 21-17 since Montreal. BMW has the third best car on the grid this year, and he’s currently 3 points ahead of Kovalainen and lightyears ahead of Trulli. He’s certainly done a good enough job to justify retention.

    Why take on a driver like Alonso, who has a reputation for stirring up trouble within a team; or Rosberg, who has promise but has been inconsistent and hasn’t shown very good developmental ability; when you have a good and hard-working driver in Heidfeld who works well with the engineers, is a team player and class act, and has shown he can deliver great race performances (not to mention is currently leading the field in 2nd place finishes this year)?

    There is something to remember when considering drivers like Heidfeld and Button, who are in their late 20s and early 30s and haven’t yet won a significant number of grand prixs and/or a WDC while drivers just as old or younger (Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica) have done so. Mika Hakkinen didn’t get his first career grand prix victory until he was 29 years old and his first WDC until he was 30. Like Heidfeld, Hakkinen was partnered by a younger teammate (Coulthard) who won before him and outscored him in the team’s turning point year. However, I think we all know how that McLarne story ended. Who is to say that Heidfeld can’t have similar success as BMW improves marches to the front?

  4. I agree 100% with Paige. I would add that a low profile driver like Heidfeld would have to be a dream come true for any team boss. Quick, intelligent, hard working and not distracted by the glitz or media. He’ll keep his seat, and he’ll win if BMW give him the car to do so.

  5. diseased rat
    11th August 2008, 0:51

    I believe that Heidfeld scored more points than any other driver over the 4 race period preceeding the last race.

    Despite his obvious qualifying troubles he is still within 8 points of his team mate who many are feting as the latest greatest thing. He clearly deserves to keep his seat and as Toby said above, he’ll win if BMW give him the car to do so.

  6. I believe Quick Nick should and will keep his ride with BMW for next season and hopefully beyond, for many of the same reasons contained in the comments before mine- he’s good to work with and produces no bad PR for the team, while turning in quality results more often than not. He may not be a superstar(yet), but he’s one of those drivers who every team boss probably wishes they had at one point or another. It’s not always easy for a veteran driver to deal with the sudden success of a new teammate, but Heidfeld has done a good job with Kubica’s success this season.

    As for the first win, I think Nick absolutley can get it and many more if he’s in a car that can at least compete with the front-runners. The only potential problem I see with this is Kubica’s recent success, and the possibility that the team may favor him in it’s strategy and priorities. BMW seem like a good and honest bunch, but with Robert having bagged the first win and having loads of good PR opportunities in a new market- Poland/Eastern Europe- would Dr. Mario and company elevate him to a Schumi-like status while keeping Nick in a pure support role?

  7. Nick should stay.
    I put the difference in Heidfelds’ performance from last year to this year down to the handling of the car/tyres.
    He had the measure of Kubica last year – I find it hard to believe that Kubica suddenly got that much better over the (painfully long) winter.

    I attribute that same issue to Bourdais Vs Vettel/Hamilton Vs Kovi. Even though I think Vettel is exceptionally talented, I wager that we’ll see Bourdais perform much better in the 2009 cars on slicks (shame they won’t be in the same team). I don’t think Hamilton is actually THAT much faster than Kovi either – I just think the development of the McLaren is targeted towards Hamilton’s preference.

    I believe car handling suiting particular drivers more than others is a factor often overlooked when it comes to driver comparisons. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few favoured drivers decisively beaten by their ‘lesser’ teammates next year with the new regs.

    But then, I just watch F1 on tv and read about it on the internet. What do I know?

  8. Heidfeld seat is or shouldn’t be in question at BMW; at least for a while. He has always done well and will continue to be one of the most consistent drivers on the grid. It was a shame that he wasn’t the one to get the team’s first win. No person on the grid has been so integral to their team’s development and success so far outside of perhaps DC at Red Bull.

    Not to add to what has been stated above. I think BMW need to change their strategy in qualifying to overcome his problems. Instead of being coy and leaving it all to the end of a session; why not have him run the entire session to get the tires up to temp? It burned them big time in Hungary; hopefully they will learn from that.

    I don’t think you can blame Robert or Nick for the “failure” of the team the last few weeks. I was apparent after Canada that BMW shifted their resources towards next year car. I just hope the man gets a win. It would be a shame to be a modern day Chris Amon.

  9. Trig,

    I find a number of your comments interesting. Going through them:

    “put the difference in Heidfelds’ performance from last year to this year down to the handling of the car/tyres.

    He had the measure of Kubica last year – I find it hard to believe that Kubica suddenly got that much better over the (painfully long) winter.”

    One thing that Kubica DID do over the winter, as has been so famously documented, is that he lost 7 kilograms (about 16-17 lbs), which gave the BMW engineers some room to play with in the weight distribution of the car. There’s no doubt that this has made a difference in his performance, particularly at the start of the season. I’m starting to wonder whether or not Kubica’s decline in performance in recent races (spinning off at Silverstone when he is one of the best wet drivers on the grid, spinning off in practice at Hockenheim, not being very competitive at Hungaroring) may be partly due to ill physio effects from having gone through such a harsh dietary regime.

    “Even though I think Vettel is exceptionally talented, I wager that we’ll see Bourdais perform much better in the 2009 cars on slicks (shame they won’t be in the same team).”

    He probably will, but a number of drivers on the grid have past experience racing on slicks. But what will probably help Bourdais relative to the rest of the field is the loss in downforce in next year’s car, as he has more experience in a lower downforce car more recently (Champ Car) than most. I would really like to see what Bourdais would do with a team that will be introducing a KERS device next year, as it somewhat resembles the “Power to Pass” system that Champ Car had that he gained experience using.

    “I don’t think Hamilton is actually THAT much faster than Kovi either – I just think the development of the McLaren is targeted towards Hamilton’s preference.”

    While I think Hamilton is the best on the grid right now, I agree that he’s not that much faster than Kovi and would chalk the performance difference up to Kovi still adjusting to the MP423 and, frankly, his rotten luck over the course of the year. Here’s a guy (Kovi) who beat Schumacher in a straight-up fight at the Race of Champions in 2004 and won the overall event against Sebastien Loeb, one of the best drivers in the world. I’ve long thought Kovi to be one of the top-5 talents on the grid, maybe even one of the top-3, and he is certainly WDC.

  10. – he is only 8 points behind Kubica who is by many considered the best driver this season
    – he is 5th in the standings
    – he is ahead of Kovalainen in the standings
    – he finished every single race this season so far
    – he has 3 podiums to his name this season

    the only thing going against him is his qualifying that often compromises his races. if Mr Theissen looks at the potential points Heidfeld has lost instead at points he has scored, Heidfeld may be in trouble

    I however hope they keep him for one more year and give him the chance to race with them on slicks …

  11. Am I the only one who thinks he shouldn’t keep his seat next year? He has not got the qualifying pace anymore it seems and as Kimi Raikkonen proved last GP, qualifying is all too important these days.
    I think Fernando Alonso should replace him, he is very good at car development and set up and could help BMW achieve their goals of winning the world championship.

  12. Regarding Kubica’s 2007 season.
    Let’s not forget that he lost at lest 2 podium finishes.
    One was at Fuji – when he got the most ridiculous in recent year drive through and another is…Shanghai (correct me if I’m wrong, when his car broke down while leading. He is not a moaning type of driver so he didn’t talk too much about his race engineer – they professional relationship was a joke. This season he’s got a new one, the car is reliable and…he lost some weight as Paige mentioned. Theissen said many times that Robert had a bad luck in 2007.

    Regarding Heidfeld.
    I do like him a lot – obviously I’ve never had a chance to meet him, but I somehow feel that the guy is a great chap. I like his attitude. He is very quick driver – I still think that he is the one most underrated. I’d love to see him next year alongside Kubica. Unfortunatelly for him the more important than attitute, consistency etc. is points bring home. So as milos mentioned…he just needs to improve in this field.

  13. I think Mclaren made the wrong decision on Kimi, Heidfield would have bought the car home on more

    much like he did at williams

  14. I think Nick IS quick, but he lacks that so-called killer/winner instinct.

    And if BMW are aiming for a title, they can either keep him as a reliable #2, or go for someone better and faster.

  15. I can’t agree that he lacks the killer instinct. Remember Silverstone in the wet with him passing two cars at a time, twice? The guy is a real hard but super smooth racer.

  16. Heidfeld deserves at least one more season at BMW – it’s so easy to have an off season in this sport; he’s shown he has the ability but it’s just not working for him this year, but all that could change for next season. Give the man a chance to prove he can do it.

  17. I think he definitely deserves another season as he has proven to be a consistently good driver….not great but good.

    I still continue to be unconvinced that he is Champion material. I hope I’m proved wrong cause he seems like a decent chap and he would be fantastic to work with whether he be someones colleague or a subordinate.

    But as Journeyer said, BMW really are looking for a title in 2009 and I think they might just keep him as the reliable #2 driver and get someone with a bit more X factor to take the reins for the Championship push.

  18. Nick Heidfeld is a great driver on the whole. However, I am a bit disappointed with his progress this year, especially on the qualifying side, not to mention that he hasn’t won a race yet when arguably there has been a chance (canada for example, but maybe that was a team decision).

    Last year he truly was Mr consistent. This year he is totally the opposite of that but his 2nd place finishes in Britain and Melbourne were impressive nevertheless.

    I believe Nick will have to prove that he can win races to really show why he is still in F1. But for his owns sake he needs to dramatically improve his qualifying performance if he is to make any impact.

  19. bernification
    11th August 2008, 16:15

    Nick has been a consistent and hardworking driver.

    I think he, along with a few others, has really struggled with qualifying and getting the front tyres up to temperature, and this has hurt his race strategy, and with the current aero configurations unless you have some kind of lucky break ala Piquet at silverstone or you are involved in pit stop races, it is very hard to pass cars with similar downforce and top speed.

    It has obviously galled him that he has been outqualified this season by Kubica (a very good driver no doubt), and I think must try harder is something Nick would be writing on his own end of year assesment, but no body else has the right to IMO.

    Getting rid for next year would be a big mistake- the guy is a born racer. Works hard and wants it. Next year, if the cars are going to be on the level playing field that is hoped, he will bag that first win. Or I’ll buy you all a drink. Ooops!

  20. diseased rat, but that’s the thing: he has to keep passing cars to get to the front. Kubica’s already AT the front, more often than not. As for killer instinct, I’d look at Canada 2008. He had a real chance of winning there, as long as he stayed within sight of his teammate. He wasn’t even close to doing that, and was dropping 3 seconds a lap to Kubica, when a more able driver may have been able to only drop 0.5-1 second a lap.

    He’s like Heikki in a sense, he’ll take the win when it’s on a plate, otherwise, he’ll just be there or thereabouts, but not P1. But while Heikki is young and can improve over time, Nick is getting old and is running out of time to prove himself. And Heikki’s already won a race too.

  21. Anyone who thinks that Heidfeld is not championship material needs to have another look at the Silverstone race from this year. That was the drive of a champion that he put on. He made a number of very bold and aggressive moves as the rain started back and the conditions were treacherous. He badly outpaced his teammate, who is known to be a very adept wet weather driver. Nick’s ass has been under fire the whole year by the press (and perhaps by BMW), and he puts on a brilliant, quick, and gutsy drive in that race, and he was perhaps the only driver who didn’t even go off the road the whole time. (Even Hamilton had an off moment; although this was certainly a blip in what was otherwise a brilliant performance in his own right.)

    His qualifying has not been great this year, but even Raikkonen has had a problem with qualifying of late, and it sounds like the same problem that Quick Nick has had: getting the tires up to temperature for a golden lap. Still, his race performances have been very strong his this year, and as I said earlier, he leads the field in 2nd place finishes for the season and has outscored Kubica 21-17 since the grand BMW coming of age at Montreal.

    Mark my words: if BMW takes the next step forward in development next year, Heidfeld WILL be a strong contender for the WDC. He’ll be a late bloomer, but so was Hakkinen. (Hell, Damon Hill didn’t even get into F1 until his mid-30s!)

  22. Paige, Montoya was a gutsy racer too, Raikkonen crushed him anyway.

    If BMW takes the next step forward, Nick will be at the front, but he won’t be able to consistently challenge Kubica. Maybe at a handful of weekends, but not consistently enough to beat Kubica.

  23. In Canada I highly doubt that it was a team decision for Kubica to win. The team had a 1-2 with Kubica needing ~20s of room from Heidfeld to win the race. It was a big risk for Kubica to achieve this gap and win. If a team order were to be in play, I think the wise and safe decision would be to give the win to Heidfeld and have Kubica drive safely.

    This season Heidfeld has never really outdriven Kubica. The only times when he has beat him, it has been due to Kubica having problems. The last few slip ups that Kubica had are whats keeping Heidfeld in the game. He is a good driver, but he is consistently being beaten by his teammate.

    If he keeps loosing to Kubica throughout this season I think BMW should consider replacing him. Then again he might be the best driver they can get at the moment. Senna would be nice, but you can’t replace a steady Nick with a gamble on Senna.

  24. Journeyer,

    How long have you been following Heikki’s career? He beat Schumacher in a straight fight at the Race of Champions in 2004, going on to win that event. He narrowly lost to Rosberg in the 2005 GP2 season, with Rosberg arguably being in the strongest car in the field that year. Peter Windsor once predicted a couple of years ago that Heikki would “take Formula One by storm,” and I would certainly say that he is an authoritative figure.

    Heikki’s transition to F1 has been a bit slow, but he hasn’t been helped by circumstances and luck. He had to endure an awful Renault in his rookie year, but he came through with a fantastic performance at Fuji in the wet in holding off Raikkonen for 2nd. He’s had to endure a switch to a new team with a completely different car for his second season, which has been one mainly of adaptation. He’s had all kinds of rotten luck so far this year. The timing of the safety car toward the end of the Australian Grand Prix robbed him of a podium finish for sure, perhaps even of a chance at victory. The tire puncture in the opening laps of Turkey after the contact with Raikkonen took away another possible podium, and certainly at least a top-4. His car failed to get off the line for the formation lap at Monaco, and he certainly had the pace there to get at least a podium, perhaps even to challenge Hamilton for the win. These incidents alone have probably cost him anywhere between 16-26, which would have put him firmly in the championship battle with Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Massa. Now that he has a string of good points finishes and his first win under his belt, Heikki has a shot of confidence.

    He’s probably too far back now to make a run at the WDC, but from next year on, Kovalainen is going to be a serious contender for WDCs and is going to push Hamilton strongly season after season. He is an elite talent. I don’t think he’s quite as good as Hamilton, but he’s not far off.

  25. Journeyer,

    Montoya was gutsy, but he wasn’t in the class of Raikkonen. He was way overly aggressive and harsh with the car.

    I agree that Kubica is the better driver. But I don’t think it’s as big of a gap as many people say. Once Heidfeld fixes the qualifying problems, he’ll be in good shape.

    Going back to the Canadian Grand Prix, the reason why Kubica was able to build the gap, aside from some brilliant driving on his part, was the fact that he had a much lighter fuel load at that point in the race. BMW fueled Heidfeld pretty heavily at his first stop, I would argue too heavily. But it worked out for the team, obviously.

  26. Paige – Agreed on Kubica.

    As for Kovalainen, it should be interesting when his round of debates come up, but his career isn’t exactly one that’s impressed me too much, oddly enough. He beat Schumi at a non-championship event (and Schumi got beaten there too last year – so how much value does it really have?). He lost out to Rosberg, and Nico’s not turning out to be much of an F1 superstar (so far anyway).

    And of course, there’s that point everyone is making if he stands any chance versus Lewis, esp. when one considers what happened to Alonso in Lewis’ rookie year.

    But I’ll expound more when we get to Heikki’s debate.

  27. Nick is a true racer, no doubt about that. I cannot remember a driver, before Kubitza, who could beat him consistently with the same machinery…

    Journeyer made a great point about the lack of killer instinct, and this is in fact what makes me be a huge Nicks´s fan. He can beat any driver on the track, including Fernando, and still be a great and nice guy out of it (and inside of it). No complains, no moaning, no excuses about any other driver, even when he is been beaten…

    For me Nick is one the most unrated drivers in the modern history of Formula 1 (joining Webber in the club!) and is a pity that when he had the car to show his worth, this car does not suit his driving style.

    I cant see he been replaced by any other driver of the grid. Besides his driving qualities, he is a fair teammate and a guy with a great team spirit, able to sacrifice his ambitions by the team interests. Another point is that Mario Theissen can deal well with two drivers whom work with a different polar of driving styles: for a smooth car pick Nick (ahahah!); to a nervous car pick Bob.

    For all that I think he should (and will) stay at BMW…

  28. Hard Work will beat talent, if talent doe not work hard enough…

    Robert, Kimi, Fernando, and Lewis are great talents, but talented people have a fatal flaw, and it is called complacency… and they don’t take it very kindly when their talent is criticized… on the hand, hard workers like Nick, Giancarlo, and Felipe, will always keep working at their shortcomings, and continue to try and improve, people like Nick are the true underdogs… if you ask me, I would rather be rooting for a hard worker (underdog) than for a talented guy… and I would definitely be cheering for a hard working talented guy… but alas Michael was the last of that breed…

    Anyways, I believe in Nick’s determination, and as far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter if he is with BMW next year or not, he will win a GP sooner or later, and will be in the contention for the title also someday…

  29. “Anyways, I believe in Nick’s determination, and as far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter if he is with BMW next year or not, he will win a GP sooner or later, and will be in the contention for the title also someday.”

    His only realistic chance with either is if he stays with BMW. And even then, that might not be enough (especially for the latter). He’s been in F1 for… almost 9 seasons now, with no wins to speak of. If he had any real super-potential, Ferrari or McLaren would’ve picked him up by now.

    But I do agree with you on one thing:

    “I would definitely be cheering for a hard working talented guy… but alas Michael was the last of that breed…”

    Amen to that.

  30. “His only realistic chance with either is if he stays with BMW. And even then, that might not be enough (especially for the latter).”

    Who could have predicted Renault winning the title in `05? And with KERS coming in next year, maybe he’ll be better off with Honda or Toyota… at least he won’t have to worry about his car setting the factory on fire or worse still, giving him an electric shock :P

  31. I think McLaren should repair its past injustice, get rid of Kovalainen and hire Heidfeld to partner Hamilton!

    So, Heidfeld would finally get his maiden win and take over Barrichello’s unconfortable record “Longest wait until first win”…

  32. Daniel: I got a feeling that McLaren will be happy with Kovi. Even if he doesn’t bring them wins he will be a great support driver for Lewis.

    As for Heidfeld he has had some impressive drives this season, but he isn’t stacking up to his teammate. I think has has so far shown just enough to not get the boot.

  33. Well said Harkirat…(post #28)

    Nick is a hard worker,has a smooth driving style,doesn’t whine too much and seems like a really nice guy…He is an underdog….these are the reasons he is my favorite driver.I do agree that he does NOT have that killer instinct.That is the reason I root for him to win that much more.I hope that he will retain his seat for another season or two.I only hope that when he does retire as a driver he can stay in F1 (BMW)…and help with developement.

  34. “Who could have predicted Renault winning the title in `05?”

    I kinda did, actually. :) I was guessing that if Ferrari weren’t gonna win that year, Renault would. I seemed to have more faith in their championship ability than BAR.

    “And with KERS coming in next year, maybe he’ll be better off with Honda or Toyota… at least he won’t have to worry about his car setting the factory on fire or worse still, giving him an electric shock”

    Ah, true. But let’s remember that BMW’s car wasn’t so quick at the start of this year, during pre-season tests. But they managed to sort it out and be even closer to the front than last year!

  35. Some very good stuff here… In my humble opinion, this is probably the best of the driver debates to date!

    Paige (Post #21) makes an outstanding point about some drivers- Damon Hill among them- not hititng their stride until later in their careers. For as great as it can be to see young guns like Hamilton and Alonso be sucessful at a very young age, I think we’ve been spoiled into thinking that if a driver dose not win big at a young age, he’s somewhat of a failure.

    Nick isn’t getting any younger, but he’s far from an old man, and perhaps he’ll hit his stride in a big way next season. In the meantime, he’s an experienced driver who is a proven commodity in terms of bringing the car home in the points and provididng technical feedback, and that’s a driver that any team would appreciate having. If anyone thinks BMW can do better, who should they replace him with?

    Rosberg, Piquet, Sutil, Bourdais, Davidson, Sato, Klein, Luizzi, Nakajima, Pantano, Grosjean, Di Grassi, Senna, even Heikki….dose anyone really think that any of thse guys is a sure-fire upgrade over Qick Nick? I’d be curious if anyone could offer a good argument for replacing him with one of the former/current/future F1 drivers listed above. Unless it was someone special like Alonso, BMW should stick with Nick for at least another season.

  36. And there’s one more thing I love about Nick and BMW that’s important to note here.

    As many of you know, I eagerly await the return of the USGP to the F1 schedule in the near future. With so much attention on new GPs in new markets, it can be discouraging to hear so little said from the teams and drivers about the current lack of a USGP. But Dr. Mario and BMW have been very vocal about their presence in America and the need for a race here, even coming to Las Vegas with their roadshow last off-season at the request of sponsor Intel. Other than Honda, I don’t see any other team standing up and voicing support for the American market in such a fashion.

    And on the drivers side, Heildfeld was very vocal last season at Indy about the importance of a USGP to F1’s claim of being the “World Championship.” And now, in a recent interview with BMW’s web site, Nick was outspoken about seeing more GPs and lesss testing on the F1 schedule. While vociing support for the new races, he also expressed his disappointment at the lack of Indy and the USGP on the current scheudle. Finally, he said he was confident F1 could be back in the USA in the near future.

    While I’m sure many teams and drivers feel the same way, nearly all others seem afraid to voice their opinions in such a manner. But here is a driver and team who aren’t afriad to stand up to Bernie and the establishment in expressing the importance of America to be included in the World Championship. Fight on Nick!!!

  37. GMan,

    among the drivers that you listed, I do think Kovi and Rosberg may possibly be upgrades over Heidfeld in terms of talent, but that is not to say that either driver should be brought in and Heidfeld kicked out. Heidfeld should stay anyways for reasons I’ve already stated. A third team in three years probably wouldn’t suit Kovi very well, but we already know that he’s going to be back with McLaren next year. (I predict he’ll be with McLaren for many, many years, unless there’s a serious falling out.) Rosberg has lots of speed and talent, but I’m starting to sense he’s quite distracted by all of the glitz associated with being a F1 driver, and the Williams really isn’t developing all that well with him on board. He will need to have a better car, though, to show his worth, and he is still only 23.

  38. I just thought of this today…

    There’s a pretty good indication from weeks ago that was given by BMW that Heidfeld will be back next year. He tested the 2009 specifications and slick tires at Jerez a few weeks ago.

    Why have one of your race drivers out testing next year’s specifications if you’re not going to bring him back? Why not have one of your test drivers doing it? And if your intention is to promote one of your test drivers to the race drive next year (i.e., Klien), why not have him doing it?

  39. Paige,

    As far as I know it was Klien who was testing KERS – he didn’t test too much as we know one of the engineers got electric shock.

    If Heidfeld is good in car development why not to use him – doesn’t matter if he races next year or not.

    I hope he will race, but in my opinion it is too early to indicate from testing whether team alredy decided Heidfeld’s future.

  40. Today F1-Live reported more rumors about Alonso being the best pick for BMW.

    It was actually more of an opinion by former German driver Hans-Joachim Stuck. Here is what he said:

    “It’s nothing against Nick, but unlike Kubica he is not a driver who can win a World Championship”

    “If you can secure an Alonso for the long term, then you must”

  41. Koper,

    I didn’t say that Heidfeld tested KERS. I said that he tested the car with 2009 specifications, which also include the downforce package and slick tires.

    You don’t throw a driver in a test for next year’s car with dramatic changes in the specifications if you don’t intend to keep him, if for no other reason than that he will have data on what you are planning for the next year and will be able to take it to whatever competitor he joins.

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