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Heidfeld to push Button out of Brawn GP?

Nick Heidfeld is an emerging candidate for both Brawn GP and McLaren-Mercedes in F1 2010, affirms Norbert Haug - as the uncertainty over the future of new world champion Jenson Button intensifies
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug has confirmed that the German manufacturer is in talks regarding placing BMW-Sauber refugee Nick Heidfeld at either Brawn GP or McLaren in F1 2010 – in a move that could leave newly-crowned world champion Jenson Button seeking alternative employment.

With a Mercedes buy-in of 2009 partner Brawn GP now looking to be imminent – as the Stuttgart marque prepares to purchase a 75 per cent share of the former Honda F1 operation, and rebrand the team in its own image – it has been suggested in paddock circles that the preference is to field an all-homegrown line-up next year in a kind of German 'super team', composed ostensibly of ex-Williams F1 ace Nico Rosberg and the experienced Heidfeld.

That would leave no room at the inn for Button, whose contract negotiations with Brawn have hit deadlock, as the Briton is asking for twice the figure team principal Ross Brawn is willing to pay him – causing the 29-year-old's manager Richard Goddard to accuse the Brackley-based outfit of making its star driver feel 'unwanted' [see separate story – click here].

Seemingly the most plausible option for Button should he indeed either jump or be pushed out of Brawn is McLaren, also powered by Mercedes and in whom the three-pointed star currently holds a 40 per cent stake – although any buy-in of Brawn GP will likely spell the end of the long-standing McLaren-Mercedes relationship, with the Daily Mail claiming that a £300 million pay-off and an agreement to continue supplying engines for a number of seasons would be required in such an eventuality.

Former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen has also been strongly linked with a return to McLaren – with whom the Finnish Ferrari evictee raced at the highest level from 2002 to 2006, triumphing in nine grands prix along the way and arguably being unlucky to miss out on the crown in 2003 and 2005 – but Haug's comments have led to speculation that 32-year-old Heidfeld is manoeuvring himself increasingly into the frame for a seat at one of the two Mercedes-powered teams.

“We are speaking with Nick Heidfeld as well,” the German told news agency DPA. “Mercedes-Benz supports the idea of signing an experienced and capable German driver. There is, however, no reason to finalise the driver situation too hastily.”

Heidfeld, for his part, wrote on his personal website that he is not concerned about being judged on the basis of his paucity of results behind the wheel of an uncompetitive BMW-Sauber in 2009, with just a sole podium finish to his name in the rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang back in April.

“Fortunately, the people who run the teams can see beyond that,” explained the man from Mönchengladbach, who has 167 grand prix starts under his belt but still no victory. “All-in-all, I'm quite optimistic about the future.”

Neither Brawn nor Mercedes have been willing to confirm the anticipated buy-in, though in recent weeks the former has conceded: “Mercedes is a very important part of our team, and without the engine we would not have won the championship. It was the best engine in Formula 1 and we have formed a great partnership together. We are looking at all opportunities for the future, but it is too early to announce anything yet.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMWSau.F1.07, Belgian F1, Spa, 14-16th, September 2007
28.05.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H race winner and 2nd place Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.05.2017 - Race, Riccardo Adami (ITA) Ferrari Race Engineer, 2nd place Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H race winner and 3rd place Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
28.05.2017 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
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28.05.2017 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 retires from the race
28.05.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
28.05.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.05.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
28.05.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.05.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.05.2017 - Race, 2nd place Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Charlene Wittstock Princess of Monaco
28.05.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
28.05.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
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November 16, 2009 12:56 PM

I presume the delays in driver announcements from both Macca and Brawn was down to Mercedes whilst they were sorting all this out. While Mercedes might fancy the idea of a German superteam of Rosberg + Heidfeld, neither guy has yet won an F1 race. That's no criticism of the drivers at all, but it's possible McLaren would then field Hamilton and Button, both world champions with a shedload of race wins between them. It might be sensible for Merc to keep Button at Brawn and place Heidfeld at McLaren. It'll be a fun battle whichever way it turns out. I just hope Button doesn't miss out on a drive, that would be criminal.

Mike - Unregistered

November 16, 2009 2:17 PM

Consistently slow? Then how the heck has he managed to finish this season ahead of Kubica (known as one of the most perspective drivers of the new generation)? He is one of the most consistent drivers in the grid, if you like it or not. Im not a fan of his and would rather see Kimi back at Mclaren, but in general Nick deserves a good car.

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