Lotus Renault GP has announced its drivers for this week's second pre-season F1 2011 test at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain, with a revised pairing over the weekend that arguably gives the biggest hint yet as to the injured Robert Kubica's likely replacement this year.
Originally, the team's recently-confirmed reserve drivers Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean were slated to run alongside Vitaly Petrov at Jerez, but intriguingly, the latter has now been replaced in the line-up by Nick Heidfeld.
Petrov will drive the R31 on Thursday and Friday, as scheduled, before Senna and Heidfeld alternately take to the track over the weekend, with a team statement confirming that the German 'is a potential replacement' for his former team-mate Kubica.
The 33-year-old is out-of-work after being released by Sauber, but he is widely-renowned within the paddock as a safe pair of hands – between the 2007 French Grand Prix and 2009 Italian Grand Prix, he took the chequered flag in 41 successive races, an F1 record and 24 of them inside the points – and he also has crucial development experience of Pirelli's tyres.
Aside from Heidfeld, other drivers mentioned in connection with substituting for Kubica have been 2010 rookie Senna, Grosjean, former F1 World Champion-turned-rally convert Kimi Raikkonen and Force India refugee Vitantonio Liuzzi.