Mercedes has confirmed Nick Heidfeld will be their third driver in 2010.
The news means Heidfeld will not be on the grid for the first time since the end of the 2005 season, when he was sidelined with injury.
He has contested 167 Grands Prix since 2000.
I am very pleased to be joining the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team. It’s the team which has attracted the most interest in the close season, not only because of the comeback of Michael Schumacher, but also because this season sees the return of the Silver Arrows cars as a Mercedes-Benz works team for the first time in over fifty years. Whilst I would of course have preferred a seat as an active driver, I am really proud to be part of the new Silver Arrows team. I have seen how committed everyone at the team is and I feel the same. I will be doing my very best to support Michael and Nico this year.
Heidfeld was supported by Mercedes earlier in his racing career and won the 1999 F3000 championship while backed by them.
He made his F1 debut with Prost the following year before moving on to Sauber. But he failed to gain a place with McLaren-Mercedes when Mika Hakkinen left the team at the end of 2001, the team choosing his Sauber team mate Kimi R?â?ńikk?â?Ânen instead.
The signing of Heidfeld alongside Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg cements Mercedes’ all-German driver line-up – while rivals McLaren have an all-British squad of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and third driver Gary Paffett.
It also means Mercedes have signed three drivers who are statistically the most dependable of all time. Heidfeld holds the record for the most consecutive race classifications – 41 – followed by Rosberg (27) and Schumacher (24).
See the updated list of 2010 F1 drivers and teams