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."

Having begun 2010 as the official test and reserve for Mercedes, Heidfeld transferred to head up Pirelli's development programme, only for an opportunity to come up at Sauber, which wanted a fresh opinion on its car following some lacklustre performances from Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi. At the moment, the German is only viewing the Lotus Renault situation in the short-term, but is naturally hopeful that it could lead to more.

"In the end, it's only testing and not racing," he pointed out, "The team expects a profound feedback to enhance the car, [and] that's actually what I did. I think that the car was already different in the afternoon from where I'd picked it up in the morning. We have already started to improve the car and tried to detect where the strengths and the weaknesses are.

"I have been pretty pleased with how it went today, [but] I have not let thoughts about their possible decision distract me from performing. It does not help to think about what they might tell you when you get out of the car - it simply takes away concentration."

Senna took over from Heidfeld on the final day of the Jerez test but, despite posting the fifth fastest time of the session, acknowledges that the team is more likely to go for someone with greater F1 experience. With Liuzzi's status uncertain - the Italian really needs to be given a chance at the forthcoming Barcelona group test to stand a chance - Heidfeld would appear to be favourite to replace his former BMW team-mate from the season-opener in Bahrain next month.



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