Nick Heidfeld has admitted he was taken by surprise by BMW's announcement that it is to quit F1 at the end of the 2009 season.

Following a meeting of the board, BMW revealed this morning that it will become the second major manufacturer to quit the sport in short succession, with Honda having bowed out at the end of 2008.

The move leaves both Heidfeld and team-mate Robert Kubica looking for new employment for the 2010 season, and Heidfeld said he was determined to remain on the grid after an announcement that he hadn't seen coming.

"BMW's decision no longer to compete in Formula One was totally unexpected," he said in a statement on his personal website. "I feel very sorry for the members of the team with whom it has been my privilege to work over the years. I would like to thank all of them for their tremendous support and for everything we have achieved together.

"I'm not going to lose sight of my ambition to reach the top in Formula One. I'll be doing my best to support the team and ensure that we get the best possible finish to the season.

"As far as my personal future is concerned, we'll now be continuing discussions under these changed circumstances."

Heidfeld has a long relationship with BMW having run with Williams during its final season with BMW engines prior to switching to BMW Sauber in 2006.

Heidfeld also raced with the team when run by Peter Sauber as his own independent outfit from 2001 to 2003.

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