Nick Heidfeld's manager has affirmed that he is 'confident' the recent F1 returnee will land a full-time race seat in 2011, despite there clearly now being no room at the inn at present employer Sauber, and Renault having also dropped a strong hint that the experienced German is not on its radar.
Following a period on the sidelines as Mercedes Grand Prix test and reserve driver and subsequently Pirelli tyre-tester after being dropped by BMW-Sauber at the end of last season and proving unable to find a replacement drive for 2010, Heidfeld rejoined the fray in Singapore just under a fortnight ago, ironically enough for Sauber, in-place of Pedro de la Rosa who had failed to live up to eponymous team principal Peter Sauber's expectations.
The man from Mönchengladbach will remain there for the final four outings this year, but beyond that he will need to find alternative employment, in the wake of the announcement earlier this week that Sauber has signed young Mexican GP2 Series graduate Sergio Pérez – and the lucrative Telmex backing that he brings with him – to compete alongside Kamui Kobayashi in 2011 [see separate story – click here
Heidfeld's manager Andre Theuerzeit, however, has revealed that the driver dubbed 'Quick Nick' within the paddock was 'not unprepared' for the news, and that there are several other irons in the fire.
“There are still cockpits available in F1 for next season,” he told German news agency SID
. “At the moment we are in negotiations, and we are confident there will be a positive outcome.”
Renault F1 team principal and newly-appointed managing director Eric Boullier, though, has been swift to quash speculation that one of those possible avenues is the Enstone-based outfit, which currently has the most coveted seat on the market up for grabs. The Frenchman scoffed at notions that Heidfeld's Pirelli experience lends the 33-year-old a handy advantage.
“That Nick Heidfeld should be first choice?” he questioned in an interview with the official F1 website. “Because he sits on important information and would without doubt give them to his new team? I think that Pirelli will inform all the teams in due course.”