Nick Heidfeld says he is excited by the prospect of making his competitive F1 return in the Singapore Grand Prix next weekend.
Heidfeld will replace Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber line-up for the final five races of the year having been released from his testing contract with Pirelli, with the Singapore race marking his first race appearance since the 2009 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The German admitted he couldn't wait to get back behind the wheel of a car on a race weekend and said that he was confident that the C29 will be competitive under lights on the street circuit.
“I can't wait to get back in the race car,” he said. “I'm not just very much looking forward to going racing again, as I regard it as a special bonus that my first race will be the Singapore Grand Prix. Two years ago this race immediately became one of my favourites. Even for a city circuit it is quite demanding. It will be interesting to see how the situation with the bumps has developed. In this regard, the track got worse from 2008 to 2009 and it was said this would be sorted out. The atmosphere at this night race is simply massive.
“Of course I can hardly imagine how the circuit will suit the car as I haven't driven it yet, but according to everything I saw and from what I have heard, the performance should be better in Singapore compared to Monza. Another positive thing is we found out I probably can use my seat from last year. This does not only save a lot of work, but it also gives me a good feeling because it was a very good seat and normally you have to do a lot of fine tuning until it fits that well. I'm also very much looking forward to really getting to know James Key and my team mate, Kamui, and working with both of them.”
The team will introduce a new aerodynamic upgrade for the weekend as it seeks to try and finish the season on a high, with technical director Key hopeful that the package will increase competitiveness.
“Singapore is the start of the last five races of the season, which are all flyaway's,” he said. “It's a tricky, technical circuit, one that is traditionally quite bumpy, so mechanical grip and mechanical set-up are important. It's probably the street circuit which is closest to Monaco in terms of the nature of the corners and the extreme high downforce levels. Of course, it's a night race and unique in that respect. It's a case of using the car the best way possible on Friday to get the right set-up for the circuit's conditions, and trying to ensure we have a good understanding of the tyres.
“The other important thing is that it's a track where it's quite tricky to overtake, so we are going to have to concentrate specifically on the qualifying performance. For the car we have quite a large aerodynamic update with a new front wing, a new diffuser and various other parts around the car. We hope the new package works as planned and then we shall see how we go.”