Nick Heidfeld’s career in video (part 1)

Posted on

| Written by

Nick Heidfeld, now a BMW driver, was previously linked to Mercedes

F1 Fanatic guest writer Journeyer gets us ready for the German Grand Prix by looking back at the career of Nick Heidfeld.

After a three week break, F1 is back in business at the Nurburgring. There are five German F1 drivers on the grid today, but one of them has been particularly good at this track – BMW’s Nick Heidfeld.

While he may have fallen tantalisingly short of a maiden win many times, his consistency in producing good results has ensured his stay in F1 for many years now. Let’s take a look back at his career so far.

1998: Quick Nick first came onto the F1 radar courtesy of Mercedes man Norbert Haug. Having been sufficiently impressed by his performances in German F3, he gave him a seat in McLaren’s Formula 3000 team.

Heidfeld had a very good rookie year, finishing runner-up to Juan Pablo Montoya. Here’s some highlights from that year’s race at Pau, where he spun, but managed to finish third.

1999: A second shot at F3000 saw him crowned champion. McLaren was also giving him some solid F1 exposure as a test driver. Here he is running the McLaren F1 car at Goodwood that year – when he set the all-time course record which still stands ten years later.

2000: He finally got his F1 break courtesy of Alain Prost’s team. Heidfeld had a rough year, failing to score any points in the uncompetitiv car. He also had some big crashes, including this one with team mate Jean Alesi at the A1-Ring.

2001: Having had enough of Prost, he decided to move to Sauber for 2001. It was the right move at the right time – he scored his first podium at Interlagos, and led the team to fourth in the constructors championship.

But he was shocked to find out that McLaren had skipped him over for his young team mate Kimi Raikkonen, despite outscoring him over the course of the season. Heidfeld hasn’t even been close to driving for McLaren ever since.

2002: Heidfeld next had to deal with Felipe Massa, whom he beat easily. However, he didn’t have too many memorable performances, either. He’d probably want to forget about this crash into, of all things, the medical car at Interlagos.

2003: It just got tougher and tougher for Heidfeld. While he did make a mistake while qualifying at the Nurburgring, he managed to go from P20 to P8 in the race. Sadly, he’d only score twice more that season. Worse, Sauber dropped him to make way for Giancarlo Fisichella.

Where would Nick go now? Part two tomorrow will show how he managed to revive an F1 career that looked like it had hit the buffers.

18 comments on “Nick Heidfeld’s career in video (part 1)”

  1. I’m very impressed by that Goodwood run. The car looked like it wanted to spear off sideways at every opportunity.

  2. I still don’t understand how Mercedes passed him over at McLarens for Kimi. he was much better than Iceman at the time, with much more to show for. i guess in the future we can find out why it wasn’t to be.
    too bad that such a talented driver never got a break with a top tier team….

    1. Kimi was the best of the best at that time!!!! (still is)

      1. I don’t think so Striay, if it weren’t for the Alonso/Hamilton Shenanigans and resulting penalties, he would of possibly never claimed the championship that year. the fact that he did by the way does not make it any less valuable. he is a Champ per say, but his demeanor is not of one… and that comes from a Ferrari fan for 16 loyal years.

        1. and if it wasn’t for Kimis DNFS in 2005, Alonso wouldnt have won teh title,

          If it wasn’t for Michaels Ferrari blowing in suzuka 2006, Alonso wouldnt have won the title.

          If Massa didn’t spin off in sepang & dnfs, Hamilton wouldn’t have won the title last year.

          1. But thats racing! and they did happen, you could say, if it wasnt for this years rule changes, button would’nt be so successful.

            but if you say that “if it wasnt for” different things could have happened, for example, you say if massa had not spun off in malaysia he would have been closer to raikonen and could have run into the back of him taking both ferrari’s out and gifting hamilton and maybe mclaren the constructors championship

    2. I think I remember Ron Dennis commenting on driver selection once, and it could have been about the choice between Raikkonen and Heidfeld. He said that when deciding on which driver to pick the decision is based on not how good the driver is now but on good the team think the driver will be in the future. McLaren thought that although Heidfeld outperformed Raikkonen in 2001, Raikkonen had a lot more room for improvement.

  3. That crash into the medical car was very very dangerous. If anyone had stepped out of it at that moment, he would have possibly died.

    Very bad, Quick Nick!!

  4. Still think it was harsh they chose Kimi over Nick. I bet he was gutted. He should have one Canada 2008 but they let Kubica win

  5. sometimes having more points doesn’t mean you were the better driver…?

    anyways, I think nick is def better than Kubica who while he can do a good qualy lap on low fuel, can’t make a pass at all.

    1. agreed everyone is better the the pole!!

  6. i feel so sorry for the guy.he’s not won a race since the turn of the decade! now thats a very long gap. i doubt whether he’ll ever win a race. he’s another martin brundle. very good at techanical analysis,but not a racer. he’ll make a wonderful test driver. norbert haug should have replaced hakkinen with him,maybe that would have been a huge boost for nick. since he got left out of the mclaren seat in 2002, maybe thats affected him a lot & has imo never been able to recover from that blow. his best chance to win was at canada 2008, but that evil-long nosed dracula sucked the blood out of him! i really sympathize nick, cuz he’s a decent driver. but you gotta be at the right place at the right time. i hope he wins atleat one race like jean-alesi before he hangs up his helmet. wish you good luck quick nick!

  7. Ironic thing is that last year Heidfeld was in talks with Honda. It didn’t work out…

    Had it worked out – it would’ve have been a totally different season for him this year.

    1. Agreed Damon

      Heidfeld’s driving style is much like Button’s…and that Honda seems to fit Jense perfectly.Nick is a very smooth driver and is easy on the tires.I’m sure he could do much better than Barrichello.

      I have alot of respect for Nick’s consistancy…he is easy on the car and keeps it on the track (more so than ANYONE else)…Good luck Nick,I will be watching when you finally win one!

  8. On current BMW form, Nick can’t win a race this year, and probably won’t be with them in 2010. He could end up as the Chris Amon of his era. Not such a bad thing after all.

  9. I remember when he won the F3000 title, there was an odd qualifying rule. Cars were split into 2 groups, fastest of each group contested 1st row, 2nd fastests contested for second row etc. I remember Heidfeld being on the easy group :)

    Anyway, he is average driver imho. Consistent but I dont remember any flashes of brilliance from him in his early years. But you could count on him to be up there on the podium when weird things happen such as weather, high attrition etc.

  10. Heidfeld moves like a cat in traffic, his overtaking record in that past few aero affected years would be as good as anybody’s if not the best. Having said that being so lousy in qualifying sets up up the greater opportunity to move ahead.
    good to see Max Wilson at Pau, he spent some years in our V8 series later on but never came to run at the front.

  11. Chris Amon almost won many races but Nick Heidfield has only come close once. Very good driver and would have won a number of races for McLaren but did not get the chance.

    Maybe he can replace HK so we shall see.

Comments are closed.