Lotus Renault and Nick Heidfeld have announced that they have reached an 'amicable settlement' today and have chosen to part-company with 'immediate effect'.
Although the news is not exactly a surprise given the German was dropped prior to last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix and replaced by test and reserve pilot, Bruno Senna, it brings to an end threats of legal action, with the 34-year-old having previously said he had a 'clear contract' and that he still 'wants' to drive for the Enstone-based outfit [see separate story - click here
]. It now seems though, that he has accepted that won't happen, although he is adamant he will be back 'racing at the highest level soon'.
“Obviously I'm disappointed to be leaving Lotus Renault GP in the middle of the season. I thought I could still make a big contribution to the team, but I have to see things as they are and I want to turn my attention to the future,” Heidfeld said.
“We have taken the right decision by choosing to end our collaboration today. I would like to wish all the friends I made at Enstone a successful end to the season. One thing is for sure - I'll be back racing at the highest level soon.”
Lotus Renault team principal and managing director, Eric Boullier added that he is pleased the matter has been resolved: “Our disagreement with Nick has been the subject of much media coverage lately, and we are pleased to have reached a swift and reasonable solution,” he confirmed.
“Our separation process was already a painful one, and neither of us wanted to go through another legal hearing. We're very grateful to Nick for the highly valuable contribution he's made to the team.
“We certainly had good times together, in particular remembering our podium finish in Malaysia. He is a very strong and determined racer and we wish him every success in the future.”
The team also added that 'both parties now consider the matter settled' and 'will refrain from making any further public statements on the issue in the future', no doubt code for the fact Heidfeld has probably been sufficiently compensated so as not to pursue matters further.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Lotus Renault re-confirmed that Senna will now drive alongside Vitaly Petrov for the remainder of F1 2011, with Romain Grosjean remaining as 'third' driver.