Nick Heidfeld has set out his stall to potential future F1 employers by reminding the paddock that – as he is set to be left without a drive following BMW's withdrawal at the end of the 2009 campaign – he still has a lot to offer at the highest level.
Heidfeld is currently in his tenth season in the top flight – one that has yielded a scant six points from the first ten races, as BMW-Sauber's F1.09 has proven to be one of the least competitive packages on the starting grid, leaving the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit a lowly eighth in the constructors' title chase.
Whilst admitting that the Bavarian marque's announcement late last month that it was to pull the plug on its F1 involvement after four years as a team in its own right had taken him by surprise, the 32-year-old stressed that he had been in talks with other teams even before the bombshell – and is adamant that he has plenty to give.
The DTM and sportscars have both been mooted as possible future destinations for Heidfeld, and with seven grands prix remaining now before the final curtain call, the German knows he needs to impress if he is to find an alternative F1 refuge in 2010. He is confident of being able to do so.
“My Formula 1 experience helps me, of course,” reflected the man from Mönchengladbach in an interview with German press agency dpa
. “After ten years I have a great deal of knowledge and technical know-how.
“Apart from the fact that I have beaten top drivers such as [Kimi] Raikkonen, [Felipe] Massa and [Mark] Webber as team-mates, it is now important to put in good performances in the next races. In Formula 1 every grand prix is a job application. It has been difficult to show what I can do in a car which has so far been inferior this season, but I am still highly motivated to get the very best out of every situation.”
Indeed, Heidfeld has out-scored Polish team-mate Robert Kubica – widely-regarded as one of the very best drivers in F1 – by a ratio of three to one in 2009, largely courtesy of his inspired if somewhat fortuitous runner-up finish to Brawn GP's Jenson Button in the rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang back in April.
Kubica has been strongly linked to Renault next season in place of friend and double world champion Fernando Alonso – and BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen is adamant that both men deserve to retain their places in the field.
“Robert and Nick are fast, ambitious and experienced,” underlined the German. “They will strengthen any team and will be at the start next season.”