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Heidfeld 'congratulates' Sauber on Pérez deal

Recent F1 returnee Nick Heidfeld has revealed that it wasn't 'a big surprise' to discover that he would be replaced in 2011 by Telmex-backed GP2 Series graduate Sergio Pérez - insisting the signing is 'great news' for Sauber's future in the sport
Nick Heidfeld has revealed that he bears no hard feelings towards Peter Sauber despite the announcement earlier this week that he will find himself out-on-his-ear at the end of F1 2010 in favour of GP2 Series graduate Sergio Pérez – reasoning that he is 'very happy' that the young Mexican's backing has likely secured the team's future.

It was confirmed on Monday that the highly-rated Pérez will join Kamui Kobayashi on Sauber's driving strength in 2011 [see separate story – click here], along with lucrative financial backing from Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex, who will thereby become the Swiss operation's title sponsor next season.

The news came as a blow to Heidfeld, who had only just rejoined the grand prix grid in Singapore, in-place of the underperforming Pedro de la Rosa – but whilst confessing that he had no inkling that such a deal would take place when he agreed to return to his former team for the remainder of the current campaign, the experienced German insists that far from being upset, he was in fact delighted that the Hinwil-based outfit's hitherto unstable and uncertain future now appears to have been assured.

“Peter informed me before it was made official and actually I didn't complain – quite the opposite, I congratulated him, because I think it's great news for the team and therefore for F1, but especially for all the guys in Hinwil who I've worked with for seven years now,” remarked the man from Mönchengladbach, according to ITV-F1. “There are great facilities in Hinwil, and I'm very happy for them that they can continue with a big Mexican partner in Telmex. It hopefully secures their future and gives them the possibility to move further up again.

“It's not so good for me, obviously – it's one place less – but it's not a place that I took for granted. Some people might look at it, from what I've seen in the news, like I just came back and now I'm being kicked out again, but that's not how it feels for me. I didn't know about [Pérez] before I signed for this year, [but] it did not come as a big surprise to me, and it was not like it was the one team on my agenda for next year. I think I'm in a good position with the other teams that still have a seat remaining for next year. [Sauber] was just for these five races; both sides wanted to be open for 2011 – Peter as well as myself.”

Some have suggested in the light of recent developments that Heidfeld would have been better-served by sticking with his Pirelli tyre-testing role – one that was in the process of transforming him into a very hot property indeed with regard to the F1 2011 driver market, given his unique and unrivalled prior knowledge of next year's rubber – but the 33-year-old contends that he made the right decision to come back to competition with Sauber, and remains optimistic about his chances of snaring a race cockpit for the following campaign.

“Some people have asked me why I didn't just stay with Pirelli and gather information, but I believe that I can do a good job for the last four races,” he explained. “I did hope that Singapore would turn out better, especially the end result, but there was definitely more to learn after one year away than I would have imagined. I knew the team, but the car and the tyres are just so different [that] you cannot jump in and do the maximum. I've figured out that you need to drive the car differently, and hopefully that will help me.

“I want to drive, I love racing and it is important to show yourself – just being around and showing my face hopefully reminds people of what I did in the past. I drove against people who are now big names in F1, like [Mark] Webber, Kimi [Raikkonen], Felipe [Massa] and Robert [Kubica], and I think without being arrogant, if you look at how I compared to them, it was very good. I think [a race seat in 2011] will happen, but until it's signed you can never be sure. Obviously there are not that many places left anymore, but we're doing our best and it's looking positive.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sergio Perez - Barwa International Campos Grand Prix [pic credit: GP2 Series Media]
Friday, Peter Sauber (SUI), BMW Sauber F1 Team, Team Principal
Peter Sauber (SUI), BMW Sauber F1 Team, Team Advisor
Friday Practice 2, Nick Heidfeld (GER), Test Driver Pirelli
Friday Practice 1, Nick Heidfeld (GER), BMW Sauber F1 Team, C29
Friday Practice 1, Nick Heidfeld (GER), BMW Sauber F1 Team, C29
Friday Practice 1, Nick Heidfeld (GER), BMW Sauber F1 Team, C29
Friday Practice 2, Nick Heidfeld (GER), Test Driver Mercedes GP
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 truck and Pirelli tyres.
Max Verstappen - Scuderia Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat
Christian Horner
Christian Horner
Daniil Kvyat
The helmet of Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber F1 Team. Image Sauber F1 Team.
The helmet of Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber F1 Team. Image Sauber F1 Team.
The helmet of Raffaele Marciello (ITA) Sauber F1 Team Test And Reserve Driver. Image Sauber F1 Team.
The helmet of Raffaele Marciello (ITA) Sauber F1 Team Test And Reserve Driver. Image Sauber F1 Team.

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jc - Unregistered

October 08, 2010 7:10 PM

@JACKBEE You can't judge Nick on his ability to drive the Sauber yet since it is only his second race. And yes Kamui does have raw pace however he spent the 1st few races of the season losing front wings/ ending up on the gravel. I think by the end of the season Nick will be giving Kamui a run for his money if not beating him. Remember this is a guy that beat Kimi, Massa, Webber and too an extent Kubica! I understand Saubers reason for signing Perez however the reason he brought Nick on was because Kamui and PDLR could not set the car up right. Next season he is going to have 1 rookie and 1 driver who is still relatively inexperienced, so he is going to hit the same problem again. He should have let Kamui go to Renault and had Nick and Perez in the car next season. That way he would have got the Telmex money plus Nick could guide Sergio

Mark _

October 08, 2010 9:50 PM

I think that you guys are over simplifying it. As I recall when JV started at Williams he was having them make changes specific to one corner of the car. Prior to that the engineers would make the same changes to the left and right sides. Maybe that was a result of JV's oval experience in the US in which each wheel is treated differently. In any case surely some drivers are better than others at giving meaningful feedback.

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