Nick Heidfeld has revealed that he is not concerned about his future in Formula 1, even though BMW-Sauber is still insisting it has no announcement to make about its 2009 line-up in the top flight.
Following a difficult start to the season that saw the experienced Heidfeld out-qualified by young team-mate Robert Kubica eight times in succession and generally out-performed in the races too, the paddock rumour mill began to suggest that the likeable German's days at the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit were numbered.
Though, Silverstone aside, he is still struggling intermittently to warm his tyres up sufficiently quickly to get a single fast lap out of them on Saturday afternoons – lining up a traffic-afflicted, two-year low of 16th on the starting grid for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, a race in which he finished up on the podium in each of the past two campaigns – Heidfeld certainly seems to have turned his fortunes around on race day, notching up more points than any other driver in the F1 field over the past four grands prix.
“Yes, I am now,” the 31-year-old replied to metro.co.uk
at the Hungaroring, when asked as to whether he felt more relaxed about his future in the sport on the back of his recent strong form. “I had some problems, but we've turned things around and I am quite happy with how it is going so far.
“It has helped me, to know they [the team] stand behind me, because I have worked hard with the engineers to overcome the problems and it has worked.”
BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen, meanwhile – who it is understood has specifically instructed both Heidfeld and Kubica not to discuss their contractual situations with the media – has suggested that he is keen to wait a few more races before determining whether the former has truly conquered his early-season demons enough to be retained at the squad next year.
“I am very confident that he has overcome the weak period,” the 55-year-old told international news agency AFP
, “but you don't get into this within a week and you don't get out of it within a week.
“He has to work systematically – and he is working systematically. I am confident he will get back to full performance and full confidence.”