Renault confirm Heidfeld to take Kubica’s place

2011 F1 season

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Renault have confirmed Nick Heidfeld will take the place of the injured Robert Kubica at the team.

Heidfeld said: “I would have liked to come back to Formula 1 in different circumstances, but I?m proud to have been given this chance.

“Everything has happened so quickly, but I?ve been very impressed by what I have seen so far in terms of the facilities and the dedication of the people at Enstone.

“I really enjoyed the test last week in Jerez and I?ve already settled in well with the guys at the track. I have a good feeling for the car, which is quite innovative. I?m extremely motivated and can?t wait for the season to begin.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “The team has been through a very difficult couple of weeks and we had to react quickly.

“We gave Nick a chance in Jerez last week and he really impressed us. He?s quick, experienced and is very strong technically with his feedback and understanding of the car.

“We always said the priority was to have an experienced driver in the car and we feel he is the ideal man for the job.

“We are pleased to welcome Nick to the team and look forward to a strong start to the season with him and Vitaly in Bahrain.”

Heidfeld will drive the car in the Barcelona test on Friday morning, sharing it with Vitaly Petrov for pit stop practice, and on Saturday and Sunday. Petrov will drive the car the rest of the time.

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137 comments on Renault confirm Heidfeld to take Kubica’s place

  1. schooner said on 16th February 2011, 21:19

    I read somewhere that Kubica was keen to see his good friend Liuzzi take over his seat (don’t know if it’s really true), but I think Renault made the logical choice. I expect he’ll do ok, and will probably wind up with a podium or two. As normal, it will mostly depend on the car. It’s possible that he and Renault might really surprise us. Hope so!

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th February 2011, 21:30

    While I’m happy for him, I don’t understand this whole “Heidfeld is finally getting the chance he deserves” nonsense. Let’s be honest here – Heidfeld has been in the sport a lot longer than most drivers could dream of, and he’s been quite underwhelming. He’s had dozens of chances in the past, and I think it’s fairly telling that he never graduated to a team like Ferrari or McLaren even though he consistently beat his team-mates. He’s not terminally overlooked, he’s a guy who just never impressed despite being given every opportunity to do so. The Renault R31 might be fast, but topping one test sessions is proof of nothing.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th February 2011, 21:51

      It’s a near-as-fact that there are more drivers who deserve to be measured in a good car than there are spaces, so yes, Heidfeld is getting what he deserves, although I doubt the Renault is a top car yet.

      For most of Heidfeld’s career it has just been two teams, McLaren and Ferrari or Renault. First Raikkonen came out of nowhere to beat him to the McLaren seat, then there were a few young drivers top teams were excited about, before you know it Heidfeld is middle-aged in F1 terms and no top team takes them on unless they’re world champions, which Heidfeld never had any chance to be.

      he’s a guy who just never impressed despite being given every opportunity to do so

      Um…what? He’s never been in a race-winning car (no, 2008 does not count) and despite that has had 12 podiums. Nick impressed about as often as Button did before the Brawn Supremacy in equipment that was never quite as good.

      • Maybe there’s a reason why he has never been in a race-winning car, unlike his former teammates Massa and Raikkonen.

        Button’s case is very rare though. He’s one of the luckiest drivers on the grid. Every driver dreams of a dominant car and a teammate called Barrichello.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th February 2011, 22:58

          I wouldn’t say Button was lucky. There’s a lot in his previous results – particularly in 2004 and 2006 – that show he had a lot of potential. Unfortuantely, all anyone can remember is the period from 2007 to 2009.

          • Gubstar said on 17th February 2011, 12:11

            Agreed. Aand the brawn car was actually only the outright quickest for 3 races in 2009! And yet Jenson won 6! Vettel had the quickest car all year last year and how many did he win?

    • Dan83 said on 17th February 2011, 4:20

      How is it not impressive to over the balance of a season beat teammates such as Raikkonen and Kubica??? Honestly…

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th February 2011, 21:40

    Yeh, wouldn’t it have been nice to see a youngster like Senna in there. Problem is with two sophomore drivers the team would have gone nowhere all year. Speed is no substitute when you have a pressing need for experience, just ask Ross Brawn when he went for Barrichello over – oops – Bruno Senna.

  4. Heidfeld is their best choice, but at the same time that conclusion is also very sad for motor racing and Formula One in particular. After 174(!) races “Quick Nick” still has to collect his first win. Experience is fine, but since the testing ban it looks like it’s everything, apart from the money.

  5. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 16th February 2011, 23:00

    Boullier: Yes Yes Robert, of course Liuzzi is our first choice.
    **Whispers to agents** Quick, while he’s in surgery, sign Nick!

  6. Sometimes just when you think that life passed you by, and you wish you had another chance – you get one.

    Nick has a really good chance to prove his skills. After losing his seat, I am sure he is more humble and more dedicated then ever. And so fortunate to land in such a good car that looks great. He must be so incredibly thrilled, I bet he is having trouble sleeping.

  7. Despite Kubica leaning towards Liuzzi, Renault made the logical decision. While I’m no Heidfeld fan, he’s very consistent and they call him Quick Nick for a reason! He might not win races, but he’ll bring the car home (something not guaranteed by Petrov) and he’ll add development input for the car. I also like Bruno Senna but an inexperienced line-up would be too much of a gamble for Renault. Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia Robert

  8. Sergio Perez said on 17th February 2011, 0:52

    I was also pusbing for Senna, since I was looking for something fresh for this year’s championship in terms of driver lineup. Heidfeld is experienced and “quick”, but not front runner quick. Last year he got owned by Kobayashi, a rookie. Yes, Kobayashi had more races on te sauber, but Nick had time to catch up and learn the car in the available races, and he didn’t. Senna is a GP2 Monaco GP winner, as well as a Silverstone winner (in the rain)- two signs of an exciting talented racer. It would’ve been a risk, yes, but that’s what separates winners and losers.

    But I have to agree that choosing Heidfeld over de la Rosa and Liuzzi was indeed the better choice. Just not over Senna.

    • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 1:16

      I would hardly say he got owned by Kobayashi. Although out of five races he was outraced by Kobayashi in three (with both retiring in Singapore), two of those were really close, with Heidfeld finishing just one place behind his teammate.

      I’m no Heidfeld fanboy, but I do think he’s pretty talented and that, if the Renault is quick enough, we might be in for some surprises this year. I really hope he gets to win a race, at least.

  9. Konrad said on 17th February 2011, 0:54

    Some say that Renault wouldn’t put Kubica back in the car if Heidfeld performed well.
    I think that since F1 is more business than sport now, if only Kubica was fit enough to drive he would get his seat back. Just imagine what publicity will Renault get when/if he comes back. All eyes on them. I bet all the sponsors as well as the owner couldn’t wish for more..

  10. I remember seeing Heidfeld at the Goodwood Festival years ago when he was McLaren’s (I think) test driver. This was before they stopped timing the F1 cars and the commitment he showed in the damp was that of a proper F1 driver.

    I hope the new Renault is as good as it looked with Kubica in it and that Nick grabs this chance with both hands.

  11. NathanBradley92 (@nathancabopino) said on 17th February 2011, 9:00

    I completely understand why Renault have gone for Heidfeld, he is/was the best option available and I’m sure, as other people have said, that when Eric Boullier said Senna was first in line, he meant for a race or two, not an extended period of time.

    But for Renault’s sake I just hope it’s written that way in Senna’s contract, and not the way Boullier said it, or they could find themselves in a legal mess very quickly.

    Still, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that and from a racing fan’s point of view, the Enstone squad couldn’t have made a better choice.


  12. Nick Heidfeld. F1s equivalent to a damp Sunday afternoon in Margate.

  13. howick20 said on 17th February 2011, 10:14

    I think this is the right decision, a quick, experienced driver,who has yet had a car capable of winning. Will germany have another f1 hero in the making- doubt it-bring on Bahrain. And, one question, is the livery on the williams permanent? If so, it is the laziest design ever witnessed.

  14. kowalsky said on 17th February 2011, 11:16

    i think he is the best AVAILABLE driver, eventhough for some reason kubica thinks otherwise, if the news i read are correct.
    It seems odd that kubica says that vitantonio luizzi is a better choice. If he said so, it’s either because he doesn’t like him, or because he thinks he can be a problem when he is ready to return.
    When massa was sidelined in 2009, kubica couldn’t substitute him because couldn’t fit in the car, now it’s the other way around. Wouldn’t this be a problem? I hope not.

  15. Alex Bkk said on 17th February 2011, 12:48

    I’m good with Nick going to Renault… I’d like to see him with a more consistent #2. I’m sure the car was designed around Kubies driving style and I dunno where that will put Nick in terms of dealing with the car.

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