Heidfeld running out of options

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The news that BMW Sauber has chosen Pedro de la Rosa to partner Kamui Kobayashi this year is another blow for Nick Heidfeld.

His options for which team to drive for in 2010 are increasingly restricted to teams that performed poorly in 2010, or ones that weren’t on the grid at all.

He had previously been tipped for the second seat at Mercedes, which went to Michael Schumacher.

There have been rumours he might take the third driver role at the team but with testing so tightly restricted at the moment it’s unlikely he’d get any running at all during the year unless one of their drivers were injured.

He may consider Renault the strongest option for this year – where he would join fellow BMW refugee Robert Kubica.

The only other team which competed last year and still has a vacancy to fill is Toro Rosso, who are expected to re-sign Jaime Alguersuari alongside Sebastian Buemi.

The remaining driver vacancies for the 2010 season are at Campos (one seat) and USF1 (both seats).

Surely one of these teams would want a driver as experienced and dependable as Heidfeld, who’s kept the highly-rated Kubica honest during their time together?

Pedro de la Rosa joins BMW Sauber

66 comments on “Heidfeld running out of options”

  1. I thought renault were keeping Grosjean but i think heidfeld would be good for them in terms of experience .

    1. Younger Hamilton
      19th January 2010, 20:13

      nick is very unlikely to go to Campos and USF1 as they expect to have a rookie lineup for 2010 he’s only choice and best option is Renault

    2. I said it ages ago usf1 is the only place NH will pop up.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys
    19th January 2010, 10:59

    I have no sympathy for Nick Heidfeld. It’s known that I don’t like him as a driver, but my reasoning is that he has had his chance. He played his hand and decided to see if Mercedes would take him. They didn’t. And now there are just five seats left and it’s becoming plain that there is not much room left for him. Renault is likely to take a pay driver. Toro Rosso have said they’ll have Alguersuari. Campos are talking with Petrov and Maldonado. And USF1 are expected to take Jose Maria Lopez, and have admitted their second seat will probably be a pay driver as well.

    It seems Heidfeld’s reach has exceeded his grasp. If he wants to stay in Formula 1, he’s got some choices to make. He’s probably going to have to swallow his pride, too. And we all know how hard that can be …

    1. Peter Sauber said he wouldn’t take Heidfeld anyway, and it’s been a while since Schumacher was confirmed at Mercedes, so I don’t quite agree with your theory. It’s either likely to have been personal terms or Sauber not wanting him in the first place.

      But as much as I feel sorry for Heidfeld, Mercedes was his last chance anyway. I don’t want to see him running around in a Renault or whatever for the sake of it.

    2. If Robert Kubica belongs in F1 why not Heidfeld?
      ” Adrian Sutil ” ” ” ” ” ” ?
      ” Jarno Trulli ” ” ” ” ” ” ?
      ” Pedro de la Rosa ” ” ” ” ” ” ?
      ” Nico Rosberg ” ” ” ” ” ” ?
      ” Heikki Kovalainen ” ” ” ” ” ” ?
      ” Timo Glock ” ” ” ” ” ” ?

      These are all drivers who have done very little or nothing to suggest they are better than Heidfeld. People always criticse him for never having won a race, but he’s very rarely had the car to do it. Funny actually, this time last year there was a driver who had a similar record to Heidfeld and you could have said the exact same thing about him…

      1. I really like Nick, I don’t really pay too much attention to him beating Kimi and Massa as they were all fairly young. For that reason I tend to ignore 07 but he did impress by beating Robert in 09. Kubica had the experience then but not many answers. People say Kubica’s performances were more memorable and the only reason I remember them better is for Brazil which was the penultimate race, Malaysia where Nick got the podium was so long ago I barely remember :P I also remember a good few on track battles Nick has given us and good moves but only a couple from Kubica.
        Nick and Rob were an odd pairing by I think Heidfeld was always under rated and Robert overrated.
        With all that said though I do generally think that the majority of cases F1 drivers end up where they deserve. If Nick was a stunning talent then he should be snapped up or get rid of his quiet image or whatever. If he had been a few years younger too then that probably would have helped his cause-although I’m not sure how valid that is when you look at Rubens who can still get a seat at Williams and Schumi is returning at 41.
        My dream would be for him to go to Renault for a few years, help give the team some stability and maybe beat Kubica again.

        1. You forgot that Kubica had many engine failures, and run out of engines 3 or 4 races before the last race of the season, whereas Heidfeld had none.
          (Correct me if I’m wrong)

          1. You also forgot the Vettel crash which has taken Kubica’s certain podium. Heidfeld beat him by 2 points, so … sorry, there was absolutely NO advantage of Heidfeld over Kubica. Ever. Moreover, in 2008, when BMW gave them a condiderably fast car, Kubica outscored Heidfeld all the way.

            However I am sorry for Nick, because his pride and overestimation of his own value as a driver led him to the postion in which he is now.

          2. If we are looking for mitigating factors to explain the final Championship standings, then you could claim that Kubica’s crash with Vettel was partly his fault, yes I know Vettel was the one punished but there were plenty of people who thought it was just a racing incident.

            And looking back at 2008 if Heidfeld hadn’t let Kubica through at Canada, there was every chance that it would have been Heidfeld claiming his and BMW’s first vistory and not Kubica.

            For the record I think Heidfeld and Kubica are pretty evenly matched, although I would accept the argument that Kubica has more room for improvement, I just don’t agree with the view that Kubica is one of the top drivers in F1 at the moment who deserves a drive with a top team while Heidfeld is an also ran who should be grateful if he is offered a test driver role with one of the new teams.

        2. NO STEPH Kubica is a talent while nick has had his time he s still with out a drive doesnt say much and really no teams have been interested in him even the new teams havent shown interest Merecedes have but really ask yourself would they have picked him now he might be a reserve driver like BADOER (HOW BAD YOU ARE) I would might seeing them two race hard to say which one would win

          1. PJA,

            I’m just protesting against rating Heidfeld higher than Kubica because of 2 points in the final WDC standigs.

            I personally think of Heidfeld as a rock-solid, focused driver with some outstanding overtaking ability, but Kubica is more than that, he has the unique champion-level ability to push the car to the limit not only in Q’s but during an entire race. He is also probably one of the most accurate, consistent and relatively error-free driver currently on the grid (if not THE most error-free driver on the grid). These are qualities of a potential champion. While Vettel and Hamilton need some polishing – he doesn’t. He just needs a competitive car. I don’t have to remind you who almost finished on the podium with the “best of the rest” car in 2008, do I?

            Now back to Heidfeld. Yes, he obviously deserves a driving seat. Yes, in an established team. No, not in the great ones like Ferrari, McLaren or now MGP. There are at least 7 guys better than him on the grid, and one on a sabbatical. Guess who was the second name on the list of Ross Brawn, right behind Schumacher? Kubica, not Heidfeld. And Ross is usually right about these things.

            Of course we can drag this discussion forever. I’d like to see both of these guys driving in comparable level teams (Williams vs. Renault perhaps?), without any team orders, lead-support driver things in the way. A direct contest between these two. Unfortunately, Heidfeld’s pride proved this impossible this year.

      2. I agree with you too.

        It will be shame if he does not find a seat for next tear. Come on Renault!! Do sensible thing and let Kubica- Heidfeld rivalry continue, Both can push each other to limit!!

      3. If you are implying Webber, well MW kicked NH but back in Williams days only to have BMW favor NH.

        The way I see it Webber has always shown talent even in some of the worst cars on the grid, dragging them into places they really shouldn’t have been.
        On the other hand Nick has only shown he is average in one of the better cars on the grid.
        And in a bad car, has barely raised a whimper.

        They guy should pull up stumps and go to his native land and race dmt like the other no talent tosser Ralf.

        1. It could easily be argued that Heidfeld outperformed Webber when they were both driving for Williams in 2005.

          Although Webber ended the season with more points, 36 to Heidfeld’s 28, Heidfeld missed the last five races due to injury and Webber managed to score 12 of his points in those five races.

          Also Heidfeld managed more podiums in the season two seconds and one third, compared to Webber’s one third place.

          1. Expressed differently Williams had four podium (two of which were seconds) and a pole position. Of that success Mark only contributed one third in race he was beaten by Nick. When you add in that Nick missed the last five races due to injury and some politics – it is clear the more successful driver was Nick.

            The BMW Sauber was a bad car this year despite more bad luck than Robert Nick got into the points more often than his team mate and scored marginally more points. So if Nick raised only a whimper you could argue Robert was even quieter.

  3. I hope Heidfeld does get the Renault seat, because while he doesn’t have the raw pace of some, his experience and guile is very useful.

    His guile can be seen by the amount of unusual races where he has ended up on the podium.

    1. I often seen that Nick does not have the raw pace. This is only really true in qualifying. While team mates with Robert Nick has two fastest laps to his credit and Robert none. Is this one measure of raw pace? This year Robert’s grid positions were better, but if you fuel correct these you will see that their pace was very close to each other. They produce very similar results despite Robert being a yo yo and Nick being a metronome.

  4. Perhaps he is considering taking a year out?

    Ive seen nothing from Nick regarding his intentions, my gut feeling is he will go to Renault but i guess we will find out in the next two weeks.


  5. I expect Nick to end up as number 1 at USF1. He is the perfect fit for them-experienced,can bring the car home,give them good feedback,quiet, unassuming, just gets on with the job with a minimum of fuss like Windsor/ Anderson.Should get at least one podium finish if he gets the drive.

    1. That’s a rather optimistic target don’t you think?

      1. I want what you are on mate.

    2. Ummmm…at least one podium finish?

      You sure about that?

  6. It will be sad to see Nick sit the year out, or his career ending so quietly. Honestly speaking, he is a different breed, and always stands out. Love him or hate him, but I think he just hasn’t had the right things fall into place for him at the right time. In Canada ’08, he could have been easily the winner if the strategies for him and Robert were switched.

    Nuff said, let’s hope he remains active in F1 as a racing/testing driver.

  7. Oh, I don’t know… Third driver at Merc with the possibility of Schumi’s neck giving out after a few races?

    Doesn’t sound like a situation entirely without potential.

    1. I imagine Heidfeld dropping banana skins around the motorhome…

      1. Haha! But yeah I agree, I’m not entriely sure his neck will hold up. I even have a slight doubt he might not make the grid. Guess you never know, we’ll just have to wait and see.

        1. lol neck injury…

          that was a nice way of not having to race the woeful ferrari after a secret test.

          He is fine…unless the cars a dog he will be just fine.

  8. While I wouldn’t rank Heidfeld in the top rung of current F1 drivers I do think he is underrated and think he is defiantly better than some of the experienced drivers who have seats for 2010.

    All the good seats have already gone and the out of the ones remaining I would say his only options will be Renault or USF1 unless they are after pay drivers as well.

    The only other alternatives would be a third driver role or race in another series, and I doubt he would be able to secure a F1 for future seasons if he can’t now.

  9. I’ve been saying this for a week or so now but it would make absolutely no sense for Sauber to sign de la Rosa over Heifeld unless Hedifeld was already on his way somewhere else, ie. Renault. It makes perfect sense for Renault to sign Heidfeld considering he’s beaten Kubica over the past 3.5 years. But if he has to get desperate I’m sure he could get a drive at a new team or STR. It would be a travesty if he doesn’t get a drive.

  10. Yes there are seats open at USF1 and Campos, but does he really want them?

  11. Options are getting slim for Nick. The BMW car in 09 was horrible. Finished with more points than Kubica. Agree with other post about less deserving drivers with a seat in 2010. As a US F1 fan I would like to see him in USGPE, but I doubt that will happen.

    Renault is the best seat still open. Hopefully he can manage to get it. Like or hate him he is a good reliable driver that has done well with below average cars.

    Looking forward to Canada 2010.

  12. I don’t know whether Nick left Sauber or Sauber left him,but may be Peter have to go for people who will cost less for him.
    My bet Nick joining Renault,I don’t think he is going to Campos.

  13. This is a suprise but he might still get a ride. But I think his chances of ever getting the win are about gone.

  14. By the way, a bit off the topic, but Piquet Jr claims he got an F1 drive for 2010!!
    Who the hell the team owner is???

    1. It says “he had” not “he has”.

      Would have been an awesome season otherwise, Senna, Piquet, Schumacher!!!

    2. He was offered a place as a crash test dummy, but wasn’t good enough.

      1. Did he keep missing the wall?

  15. I think he’ll get the Renault seat. I think he deserves the Renault seat, more than de la Rosa deserves the Sauber drive.

    It’d also be interesting for him to be reunited with Kubica, who I still rate very highly, but have had to question that just a bit more in recent times.

  16. Woah!

    It says here that apparently the Russian Vitaliy Pietrov – who came second in F2 last season (behind Hulkenberg) – is finalizing his deal with Renault.

    1. It was obviously GP2, not F2. My mistake.

  17. It’ll be a shame if he doesn’t get the Renault seat because he is clearly the best driver available and better than many drivers who have race seats for next year. If Renault take someone else, then he’ll be out because STR are close to confirming Alguersuari, Campos want a Paydriver. The last option, USF1, is not going to happen. They more or less confirmed that they need a Paydriver as well and Heidfeld is clearly not willing to pay for his seat, at least not for a seat in a new team. Besides that, there’s no future for him at USF1 since they’ll want to hire American drivers once they’ve established themselves.

    So it’ll propably mean third driver at Mercedes combined with racing in the DTM or at Le Mans…

  18. I suppose that I’m nationally biased, but I can’t help the feeling that the only reason Heidfeld bettered Kubica last year is that the car was crap – that downed Kubica’s motivation, which, in turn, helped Heidfeld to feel he could seize the chance to outperform his team-mate – which, on points, he only confirmed at the last race of season.

    Anyhoo, nothing against Heidfeld, seems like a solid driver and a nice guy. Ideal would be Renault seat where he could prove, or not, that he’s just as good if not better than Kubica. But the fact that he hasn’t been signed yet does not bode too well.

    1. That doesnt make any sense. If the car was crap, it was crap for BOTH of them. And if that hindered Kubica’s motivation, whilst spurring Heidfeld on, then that reflects pretty negatively on Kubica.

      1. Not saying it doesn’t reflect negatively on his ego – just that it’s not a reflection of his talent, necessarily.

        1. I suppose I can see your point, but I think you are reaching pretty far to justify the slight performance deficit between Kubica and Heidfeld

  19. If he found the money, he would have a seat at RenaultF1 I think…

  20. Lets not forget Kubica was at a huge disadvantage with KERS because of his weight. If it wasn’t for that, he would have probably beat Heidfeld. But I have to say, Heidfeld can get the most out of a rubbish car, which the new teams would greatly benefit from.

    1. Yeah but to be fair to Heidfeld he didn’t run KERS for that many races, they soon gave up with it.

      1. Still the car was designed from scratch to run with KERS, in expense of aerodynamic development. So Kubica got the aerodynamic crap of a car, without KERS get some extra speed, crappy balance due to his weight and crappy engine. And still he lost to Heidfeld only by 2 points. Yeah, keep telling me that Nick really bested Kubica.

        1. Remember the BMW Sauber was re-designed without KERS mid year- if you look at results from Spa onwards you can see how they compare to each other – Robert more highs and lows – Nick more consistent results. In truth Nick had terrible luck in the latter part – the ballast at Singapore put him on the back of the grid, the very slow pit stop at Japan allowed Kimi to jump him (then Nico with his speeding under the yellow flag) and the fuel issue at Brazil. Without this bad luck it is possible Nick could have scored in each race from Spa onwards. On balance Nick was marginally better than Robert in 2009.

          Nick is obviously the only driver that Renault are going to get that has the potential to push Robert. The issue is not about driving skill it is about money.

          1. If the rumors from Renault camp are true, Heidfeld demands 5 million per season, if he doesn’t get the money he prefers the reserve seat in MGP. No wonder Sauber didn’t take him. And I will not feel sorry for him, if his greed leaves him without racing seat.

          2. I have not heard the rumours about Heidfeld’s salary demand. I would be disappointed if Nick were to be holding out for so much money. Indeed it seems to be higher that what he was earning at BMW Sauber. Nick was the only driver who was publically sympathetic to the idea that F1 drivers should expect salary cuts.

            See http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/01/26/heidfeld-argues-for-driver-pay-cuts/

            I do not think there has been interview I have heard where Nick has not expressed sympathy for workers at the Sauber factory and job lay offs.

            This rumour is so out of character for F1’s most level-headed driver.

  21. Given his experience, quality (clearly more than some others already on the 2010 grid) I think any teamboss with half a brain should pick out of the available drivers. I personally really hope that Renault gives him a chance. You might feel like he’s had his shot…but for the last few years i’ve been thinking that of Button and Barrichello, and they proved to still have it (regardless of the quality of their cars).

    If Buemi, Trulli, Kovalainen, Sutil, Liuzzi and De La Rosa deserve to be on the grid, than i’m surprised no one hired Heidfeld yet. It would be a shame if he’s not there. Probably because teambosses need money more than skill.

  22. If F1 is to have the best drivers then should the teams be looking for paying drivers?

    I am struggling to try and remember if any paying driver actually achieved good results. It seems to me what is needed by a new or struggling team is get the drivers who can setup, improve and get the best out of machinery provided. So that the team can climb the ladder and get more money next year. If the teams go with a paying driver who only really provides cash then the team is going to be in the same position, struggling, next season.

  23. Heidfeld is useless FACT why because he had his chance in all those years in driving in F1 he hasnt done much… yeah he finish a lot of races but really all ask yourself has he really been up their NO he just makes up the numbers just like that horse in a horse race will never win or be competive just finish the race and thats all he does ….Its coming to an end where teams have chosen their drivers now, were teams really interested in NICK Heidfield “NO” hes still with out a team. Mercedes showed interest but really in the end would they picked him probably “NOT”. I HOPE HE DOESNT END UP AT RENAULT … RENAULT IS ON THE WAY BACK AND HE WILL JUST STALL THE PROCESS. KUBICA is a talent all ne needs now is a good package lets hope that Renault can provide him that because at BMW they failed by concertrating for the new year 2009 where he was fighting for the championship of 2008

  24. Funny thing, if Kubica is really that good, then why didn’t he beat Heidfeld in 3 years at BMW? (excluding his 6 races in 2006). Heifeld scored (if my calculations are right) 140 points, Kubica 131 in those 3 seasons. Heidfeld wasn’t much better, but he surely wasn’t ‘shown the way’ by Kubica. He still has enough going for him to place above several others who already have a place on the grid.

    1. Heidfeld retired 4 times during those three years.
      Kubica 8, plus 1 race he wasn’t allowed to take part in by doctors (US GP).

      Heidfeld average points per race for up to 2009 – 1,29
      Kubica average points per race up to 2009 – 2,40

      Any questions?

      1. u have had a brain memory lapse have u forgot the blown engines that kubica had four of them how much did heidfield have none and still achieved nothing i am sure u cant blame kubica for the blown engines just like u cant blame vettel for not winning the champioship because of his engine failures

      2. Cyclops – you better look up you stats they are wrong. In the last three years of racing together Nick has scored more points per race start than Robert.

        1. I counted career-long averages.

          1. If you take those 3 years, it’s true – Heifdeld’s average is slightly better (2,69 to Kubica’s 2,56). Then again, if you count only those races they completed it’s again Kubica (3,04 to 2,91 of Heidfeld).

            You have to admit, that there is no reason to give Heidfeld the credit for being better, no matter If you take pure numbers or the circumstances into account. The broader perspective you take, the better Kubica looks. And I can have my hand cut off, If at the end of his career Kubica doesn’t get better than Heidfeld both in terms of statistics and fans’ and f1 experts’ memories.

          2. I rather u keep your hand no matter what happens:-) but lets wait and see what happns afterall its up to the drivers to perform providing they have a good package with the car

          3. It becomes really difficult to start including race finishes for standardisation of your analysis. Nick makes very few driver errors and in fact over three seasons has not caused a single race accident (Singapore was entirely Sutil’s problem). Most Heidfeld fans will concede that Robert is very good and I consider the two drivers to be different but equal in driver ability. Taken further I would like to see both drivers at Renault as I think their combined skills would build the team up more than any other available driver combination.

  25. jose arellano
    20th January 2010, 19:01

    davidson & heidfield for USF1

  26. Heidfeld joins ‘Team Germany’ at Mercedes
    23 January 2010

    After Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher the Mercedes Grand Prix team has signed up former BMW Sauber F1 driver Nick Heidfeld. The German became the team’s test and reserve driver as of this season his manager confirmed.

    On Monday, 25 January, Nick Heidfeld will be presented to the invited guests and media during at Mercedes´ team launch in Stuttgart. Speaking about his upcoming challenge as the team’s test and reserve driver his manager Andre Theuerzeit told German magazine Bild: “Nick (Heidfeld) will fully concentrate on supporting the team’s main drivers as the team’s test and reserve driver. Nick focused on a seat with one of the top teams but unfortunately we were unable to sign him up.”e

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