In a somewhat ironic twist, Nick Heidfeld has taken over from Pedro de la Rosa - the man who arguably stole his seat at Sauber in F1 2010 - as the new chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA).

de la Rosa had revealed that after returning to full-time competitive action this season for the first time since 2002, he would likely no longer have sufficient time to adequately fulfil his duties as the head of the drivers' organisation that meets at every grand prix to discuss safety and political matters in the top flight.

That being so, ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Heidfeld has been voted in as the Spaniard's successor in the role, Lotus star Heikki Kovalainen has confirmed to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

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The experienced German is sitting on the sidelines as Mercedes Grand Prix test and reserve driver in 2010, having been pipped to race seats at both Mercedes and McLaren at the eleventh hour over the winter, by respectively record-breaking compatriot Michael Schumacher and reigning F1 World Champion Jenson Button. Once de la Rosa was announced in the second Sauber role, the 32-year-old's last remaining option to continue competing evaporated.

Whether the news will similarly herald the return of Schumacher to GPDA membership - given the 41-year-old's frosty relationship with de la Rosa [see separate story - click here] - remains to be seen.