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Heidfeld: Renault contacted me, not vice-vera

Nick Heidfeld has revealed that the Lotus Renault team came calling after Robert Kubica's accident, adding weight to suggestions that he is favourite to fill in for the injured Pole.
Nick Heidfeld has insisted that the Lotus Renault team contacted him about the possibility of replacing the injured Robert Kubica, and that he did not go chasing the seat - even though the thought had naturally crossed his mind.

The German, who did his chances of landing the spot alongside Vitaly Petrov no harm at all by topping the times on day three of the recent Jerez group test, revealed that the first he knew about Kubica's accident on the Ronda di Andora Rally was a news flash on the internet, and that he had continued to monitor the situation online, but maintains that Lotus Renault team boss Eric Boullier made the first move in initiating contact.

"I want to point out that the team contacted me, and not vice versa," Heidfeld told the official F1 website over the weekend, "I know that some drivers contacted the team.

"The first news was that I saw on the internet that Robert had an accident in Italy last Sunday. First, the talk was that he had injured his leg [and my] first thought, of course, was that I hoped that it is not too bad. The second thought then was probably I could step in for him.

"I was locked into the internet to find out what was going on and the real unhappy aspect was that, if it is worse for him, it could be better for me. This is a very oppressive feeling. You don't want anything bad for someone [but], on the other hand, it can mean a real chance for yourself."

Once the pair had discussed the possibility of Heidfeld entering the frame - along, Boullier claimed, with official reserve Bruno Senna and Force India refugee Tonio Liuzzi - the pace of things stepped up, with the German slated to get his first run in the R31 just four days after Kubica's accident had left him with serious hand, arm and leg injuries.

"On Tuesday, I was already visiting the team in Enstone and was speaking with Eric and the engineers," Heidfeld explained, "[There was] no seat fitting then - the seat was done in Jerez in two nights because, during the days, Vitaly was driving. The first night, Thursday, we were working until 3am and, on Friday, until 2am. On Wednesday, I was heading home to get my license, as an F1 license at that time was not very high on the agenda, and, from one moment to the other, it became a paramount issue."

Heidfeld admitted that he had not expected to be racing in F1 this season, or in the opening rounds at least, and was already working on other possibilities.

"We've been speaking with Mercedes GP for the same position as last year: test and reserve driver," he noted, "[and], sure, you start to think about other options. DTM was on my list [and] I thought that this could be something, but clearly F1 was always my priority. As somebody said, rightfully, I've been in such a situation before, so I naturally did the best I could to get me a future drive. Naturally, there was the chance that I might end up without any position in F1, but then I would have worked to get back in the course of the season - just like I did last year."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP, R31
Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP
Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP, R31
11/2/2011- Nick Heidfeld (GER), is due to be testing for Lotus Renault GP to replace Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP, R31
Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber.F1.08, Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber.F1.08, French F1 Grand Prix, Magny Cours, France, 20th-22nd, June, 2008
12.02.2011- Nick Heidfeld (GER), Testing for Lotus Renault GP, R31
11/2/2011- Nick Heidfeld (GER), is due to be testing for Lotus Renault GP to replace Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP, R31
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Oli - Unregistered

February 14, 2011 12:17 PM

Nick is underated and deserves a spot in F1. The fact he has had to wait for such unfortunate circumstances to come up so he can get the opportunity is a sorry indication of the way F1 is - money over talent. Everyone knew long before Jerez that Heidfeld is a better driver that Petrov and many others on the F1 grid. Arguably the best F1 driver to never win a GP. But F1 is what it is I guess. Perhaps when Heidfeld spanks Petrov then Renault will keep him on alongside Kubica when Robert comes back. Or else Quick Nick will get a decent drive elsewhere. Don't forget, Nick actually finished ahead of Kubica in the championship before BMW pulled out. Oli



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