Should Heidfeld be allowed to race next season? (Poll)

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Nick Heidfeld

Pirelli has begun testing its new tyres at Mugello ahead of its return to Formula One for the 2011 season.

Nick Heidfeld has been released by Mercedes to test for Pirelli but should he be allowed to drive for another team next season, given his access and influence?

It?s a given that Heidfeld will have access to a huge amount of information by working for Pirelli.

As far as I’m aware there’s no precedent for this in F1 ?ǣ Pirelli is the first new tyre supplier to be appointed under the sole supplier rules and thus the first to need to do this kind of testing.

The plan

Heidfeld will drive Toyota?s TF109 in a series of test sessions on different circuits to develop the new Pirelli Pzero F1 tyre. The development work will focus on balancing performance, durability and bringing ??excitement and close racing to the fans??.

The teams will be given the opportunity to test the tyres for themselves in November, after the end of this season.

Pirelli?s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: ??We?re delighted to welcome Nick into the Pirelli family, and we?re confident that he?ll do a great job for us.”

The role of test driver is a crucial one, so we were looking for a driver who had plenty of recent Formula One experience, the speed to push our new tyres as hard as possible, and the consistency to provide reliable simulations, as well as the analytical skills to relay information accurately to our engineers. Nick fits the bill in every respect and we?re very pleased to have secured his services.

As for the car, we have a policy of complete impartiality, so we did not want to favour any existing team. The Toyota was the perfect solution, as it is a contemporary racing machine with proven speed and reliability but without links to any of the manufacturers currently competing in Formula One.

I?m confident that we have an extremely good package that will give us every opportunity to maximise the potential of our tyres prior to the start of next season.
Paul Hembery

Heidfeld added: ??It?s a great privilege for me to join Pirelli in order to carry out this vital work. Through the experience I have built up over the years, I?m confident that I will be able to provide Pirelli with some important feedback regarding the development of next year?s tyres.

??I?ve got a lot to give but I haven?t been driving so much this year, so I can?t wait to get started! Together, I?m sure that we can create a dynamic range of tyres that will make Formula One an even more exciting sport in the future.??


Heidfeld has always been a strong driver and if the ban on testing remains next season, his experience will make him an appealing choice for many teams.

Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug has said:

It was clear from the beginning of our cooperation that Mercedes GP would release Nick from his obligations as soon as a promising opportunity as an active Formula One driver developed. This is now the case and there could be no more experienced and knowledgeable driver in the cockpit to
steer the tyre development for next season.

It would be great to see Nick in a competitive car in next year’s Formula One World Championship and I am sure his leading role in the new tyre development, in addition to his skills, puts Nick in a good position for the remaining seats in 2011.
Norbert Haug


It?s a given that Heidfeld will have the opportunity and means to influence Pirelli?s development. His inside information would be a great asset to any team and if abused, could be detrimental to the rest of the field.

I say

As Michael Schumacher has shown this year, understanding how to get the best from your tyres is crucial but don?t think Heidfeld will be anything other than a reserve driver next season.

I think this argument is a bit of a red herring. His information will be useful to many teams but it?s unlikely it will be enough to gain him a racing seat.

You say

Should Heidfeld be allowed to drive for a Formula One team next season? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should Heidfeld be allowed to drive for a Formula One team next season?

  • No opinion (5%)
  • No (15%)
  • Yes (80%)

Total Voters: 2,217

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  • 116 comments on “Should Heidfeld be allowed to race next season? (Poll)”

    1. He has tested the new tyres but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed back in F1. That’s like saying “Sorry Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber can’t do qualifying anymore because there car is faster and they have an advantage over everyone else.”

      1. exactly. Or in another register at the beginning of the season : “Schumi and Rubens have driven on slicks already, they shouldn’t be allowed in”

      2. That’s a failed analogy, Calum. FAILED big time.

        I remember 1998, when the grooved tyres were introduced. It took a long time for some drivers to get to grips with them. Some drivers had to change their driving style to suit the tyres. The others didn’t have to – and they were at an obvious advantage.

        It’s clear that the Pirelli tyres will suit Heidfeld perfectly (doh!, better than any other driver.
        This will be a huge advantage for Heidfeld over anybody, which goes beyond the man vs. man and car vs. car rivalry.

        1. This isn’t as drastic as the groove tyre change.

          It won’t be a ‘huge advantage’ at all.

          1. I don’t think Heidfeld is the type to dubiously develop a tire to his own taste.

            you have to remember the the tire is being developed on a 2010 spec Toyota. in 2011 the cars will be somewhat different (new wings, Kers etc), and every driver will have to adapt to his package, the tire being one of the variables. So, I don’t think it gives Heidfeld a superior advantage over anyone else to be honest. it only gives him a benefit of knowing how the tires will behave, that is something that the rest of the field will be on par with by the end of the pre-season tests.

            1. Heidfeld has been out of a car for a year, and there can be no doubt that the cars have changed a lot.

              So any gain he has from the tyres, will be countered by that year.

            2. Correction, Toyota’s 2009 spec car is being used. which is even more different than the 2010 cars and the 2011 single seaters that will drive on Pirellis.

            3. It does seem a little odd that they have him in the 2009 Toyota. I would think he’d take a short time at least to get used to that particular car, since it’s not one he drove in competition, making it difficult to give very constructive feedback right off the bat. Of course I suppose if they are doing lots of tire changes and back to back comparisons then that should allow him to provide more comparison. I wonder how many race distances they’ll have him put in. It seems that that would be crucial, but physically difficult for one driver to do multiple long stints in a day, or multiple days of race distances…

        2. It’s not really.

          I remember in 2009 when the Brawn GP001 was introduced.

          One driver was able to drive it with his original style and scored lot’s of wins early on, this was against the driver who had previously driven on slicks! Both had the same car and if the tyre advantage was true then Barrichello would have won ;)

      3. great answer it is non sense to ask this question

    2. Allowed? Yes
      Should he? No

      I don’t see Nick Midfield getting a drive next year, I wasn’t sorry to see him go and I’d much rather a team take a chance on some new up and comer than Hiedfeld. He’s always been bland.
      But he shouldn’t be banned from driving next year if one team is stupid enough to want him and his German passport.

      1. Comment of the day! I think the same thing.

      2. he seems bland, and this perception seems to blight his career, BUT he certainly wasnt a slouch at BMW compared to his very highly rated team mate.
        Its a shame but i dont think there is a seat out there for him in the near future……..but if PDLR can make a comeback then there is still hope for quick nick

        1. “he certainly wasn’t a slouch at BMW compared to his very highly rated team mate.”

          Are you referring to Vilenueve? ;)

        2. BMW kneecaped Kubica’s title charge in 08 to help Heidfeld warm his tyres up… Not what I’d call keeping up with your team-mate, just the German paymasters calling the shots…

      3. I think Sauber are the most likely to hire him. PS has that policy of one experienced driver and one up and comer. How safe is De La Rosa’s seat?

    3. I’ve never liked Heidfeld. I think he’s the most overrated driver on the grid. And the fans always seemed to have a double-standards approach: if one driver failed to perform, it was their fault – but if Heidfeld disappointed, it was because the teams shafted him. He’s had a ten-year career, which is more than most drivers get. He doesn’t bring anything to the sport that no-one else can deliver, and his intimate knowledge of the Pirellis for next season will simply offer him an unfair advantage.

      1. Maybe the new team (if there will be one at all) should take him.
        It will not be an unfair advantage, as they will have a whole mountain of experience to climb before they get close to the level of the current teams (both old school and 2010 entrants).
        That would make sense, but it would mean they have less possibility to get money from sponsers by offering a drive.

        1. Heidfeld has already said that he’s not interested in a return to racing unless he can drive for a competitive team.

          1. Exactly, so therefore he will not get the drive next year (nor the years thereafter).

      2. I totally agree. “Quick Nick”?! Don’t make me larf.

    4. Pablo2008jedi
      18th August 2010, 8:33

      I don’t see a problem, he’s driving a ’09 car, can development of ’11 cars will have already started. Unless he’s alread talking to a team about the new tyres (which I would assume is a breach of contract), then there should be no issues. ’09 cars handle diffently to ’10 and more so probably with ’11 cars. The real test of the tyres will come in November I think, when every team gets to try them out.

      1. No, he’s driving a 2010 spec car built for the current season. The 2011 cars will be very similar and run the same size tyres.
        It will be a fair advantage as Nick feeds his info to the Mercedes works team over the next few months or even has Pirelli develop the tyres with one eye on how Mercedes want them.

        Nick will now be on the Mercedes unofficial payroll. If not then Mercedes have definitely missed a trick.

        1. no he’s driving the TF109… a 2009 spec car with 2010/2011 spec tyres.

        2. No, It’s the 2009 Toyota.
          I think Mercedes is letting him go to avoid people labelling them as cheats, as you have, with very little reason behind the accusation.

          1. Some of the tests may overlap with GP weekends. He can’t be in 2 places at once.

            1. ….. I hate logic.

    5. I think Nick should be allowed to have a shot at a racing seat next year.
      BUT the first question mark to that is, weather Pirelli wont want to keep him for next year as well. After the first tests and races, they will have some feedback from the teams, but without any further testing they will not be able to improve the tyres much. So maybe testing with that car during next season will be usefull as well.
      Second, there are not that many seats available for Nick. Renault is a done deal with Petrov or Sutil or even one of the guys from DAMS. Force India might be, but they have Liuzzi and Sutil, even is Sutil goes to Renault and/or Di Resta takes a testing role with Mercedes (unlikely, if he can get a race drive at FI) they will most likely not take Nick.
      Sauber does not want Nick. Virgin already has Glock, they will want to keep DiGrassi or go with a new prospect bringing some cash. Lotus is full, so the only teams might be HRT and a new team. HRT needs money from the drivers, maybe the new team would be interested, but it would probalby need money for the drive as well.

      1. And add to that, if they do indeed move to 18 rim tires in a few years, they will definitely need to do a lot of testing with that too – and sort of develop a “template” car to test the suspension, and maybe help the technical committee formulate what is, and what is not, allowed for this suspension. Nick might be off best to help with that.

    6. “The Toyota was the perfect solution, as it is a contemporary racing machine with proven speed and reliability but without links to any of the manufacturers currently competing in Formula One”

      What was the deal with HRT + Toyota then, was it not for their chassis from last year, I cannot remember?

      1. The deal between HRT and Toyota will probably be about the designs of the TF110, the car Toyota designed for this year.

        1. But Ben has a point, as the press releases state, that Toyota personell will be running the car and take data from it to look at it before handing it to Pirelli (probably to add comparisons to the original Bridgestone tyres).

          That would mean the Toyota team running the car will have some level of inside information which they might be able to use for developing a 2011 car for HRT.

          That said, the deal with HRT and Toyota was announced, but from comments by Senna last week it’s no done deal yet.

          1. It’s probably not a done deal because HRT’s financial future is in total jeopardy (if you believe Bernie).

            1. And it’s not like HRT are suddenly going to be worldbeaters.

              Remember in 2006 when Toro Rosso had the so-called “unfair” advantage of a V10 engine against the other teams’ V8s? Nothing came of it.

    7. I’d like to see Heidfeld back (bias). But after a poor 2008 season, that doesn’t seem likely. In 2009 he got his act together and he outperformed his highly rated team mate overrall. I guess as a Heidfeld fan, I can only cross my fingers.

      1. I’m a Heidfeld fan but I don’t think he had a poor 2008 season at all. He was the most consistent driver that season and perhaps the best overtaker with 4 double-overtakes, and one going up Casino Square. One small thing, his teammate was just better than him.

        I’d love to see him back in F1 because he’s very intelligent and would suit the non-refuelling era.

        1. I agree Kubica got the better of him, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a great driver, He’s been unlucky to have a car that suits him, every year where it isn’t competitive ^^.

          Much like Mika and David at Mclaren, Coulthard beat out Mika a few times, but it was never when the car was up to it.

          1. So you think that not only Heidfeld is a great driver … but Coulthard was too?

            Hilarious stuff!


            1. If your going to argue that Coulthard wasn’t a great driver, your going to lose.

        2. Heidfeld had trouble qualifying. That did lead to some “poor” results by his standards.

          What people seem to miss is that Heidfeld beat Kubica in 2 out of the 3 seasons they were together. Only in 2008 did he struggle to beat Kubica.

          Whichever way you look at it, Heidfeld underperformed in 2008.

          1. Was about to point that one out, it annoys me how quick people are to slag off Heidfeld but they never seem to notice that one!

          2. 2nd place to Hamilton in the opening round in 08 and 3 more 2nd place results, despite the lone Kubica win doesn’t sound like underperforming to me. Nick could have easily kept Robert behind him in Canada like he held up Alonso, but I’m convinced he let Kubica through for the team. Kubica winning a year on from his horrible crash made for better PR. Something Ferrari seemed oblivious to a few weeks back.

            1. True, his race performance was fine. Still, he obviously had trouble in qualifying during many events.

              Besides, “underperformed” is a relative term. He could have had better results if he had gotten his qualifying fixed.

    8. H never liked Heidfeld. Most because of those long sleeve vest shirt things he wears all the time.

    9. Of course he should. No question about it.

      By the way, recently he said DIRECTLY that Kubica is a good partner and he would be glad to drive with him again someday. Lack of racing changes minds I guess.

    10. Unbelievable.

      Let me get this straight. Some people here are actually wishing that a driver be banned for a season just for the sake of team equality? Talk about harsh.

      What law did he break to deserve such punishment?

      1. He didn’t break any law. But he will have intimate knowledge of the Pirelli tyres – knowledge that no-one else will have. I think you’re under-estimating just how thorough that knowledge will be.

        1. Even if it really is unfair, it’s quite clear that there is no room for moral decisions in Formula One. Every team will do anything to win.

          1. Oh, of course – but will Heidfeld’s knowledge of the tyres offset his distinct lack of ability to follow through? Ten years without a win is a pretty telling sign of his ability …

            1. Is it? Put him in the Red Bull and he’ll have won at least once this season, I’m sure. Put him in a Ferrari in 2002 or 2004 and he would have won for sure, too.

              Eddie freaking Irvine has many wins, and almost won the world title in 99. Any decent (see anyone but Yamamoto or Ide or Yoong) F1 driver can win, dude. They just need the car… as we’ve seen with Webber too. But of course, you’re not a fan of Webber, either, are you?


            2. Heidfeld clearly is no Vettel or Alonso, and probably should won at least once in ten years. But to fair, he has never really had a car capable of winning on merit.

              I guess we’ll see just how much Heidfeld can benefit from this testing.

            3. Is it? Put him in the Red Bull and he’ll have won at least once this season, I’m sure. Put him in a Ferrari in 2002 or 2004 and he would have won for sure, too.

              See, this is the blind double-standards that I was talking about: it’s not Heidfeld’s fault that he never won a race. Oh, no, it was the car. But for any other driver, it’s because he’s not good enough.

            4. Geez, the lenght that people go through in in their overly biased uninformed nonsense. What is it? You don’t like his beard?

              What utter nonsense. How is it a “double standard” when people say that in the fastest car Heidfeld would have won races too?

              He beat all his teammates. What more can a driver do?

              Heidfeld might not be of Hamilton and Alonso level, but he sure is of a Rosberg, Button, Massa and Kubica level.

            5. Heidfeld just hasn’t had the luck to win a race yet. The cars he drove were never up to it, including the 2008 BMW. And is anyone here thinking that drivers like Kovalainen and Trulli who were pretty lucky to win one race are that much better than Heidfeld???

            6. He beat all his teammates. What more can a driver do?

              I don’t know. How about win races? I know it’s one of those wacky, radical ideas that you never see coming, but I guess I’m just crazy dangerous like that. Beating your team-mates is small recompense for ascending the top step of the podium.

            7. PM you support Button. He was pretty much nowhere most of the time. He had one win to his name (and although he fully deserved it his win demonstrated how quickly things can swing in a race)and most people wrote him off and then he came back in the Brawn and won the title…

              It’s mostly down to the car. I’ve just watched the 05 review and it was always a Renault vs Mclaren show, noone got a look in except Ferrari in 02 and 04, 06 was mostly a Renault vs Ferrari battle bar the odd wet occassion, 07 Mclaren vs Ferrari, 08 one BMW and one STR in the mix.

              Heidfeld managed some great results when the likes of Ferrari dominated. Noone is saying he’s a driving God but the fact he survuved for so long in an impatient sport shows he had talent or he’d have been dropped like a hot potatoe. He got into fightd with Alo at France and Bahrain in 07 in a vastly inferior car, he mostly trumped his teammates and he got some brilliant podium finishes.

            8. Winning races depends on the car you get and/or the luck you are dealt (ie Panis winning at Monaco).

              Beating your teammate is what shows the skill of the driver.

              I’m amazed that people who frequent f1fantic this often still don’t understand that fundamental fact of F1.

            9. PM, I usually agree with your comments, but not in this case. I don’t mind anyone being biased for or against a certain driver, but to say Heidfeld doesn’t deserve a seat is nonsense. He deserves a seat more than half of the current field does. Do you really think Kubica would have had a chance at winning in Canada in 08 had Hamilton not taken himself and Kimi out of the race? Massa had his own problems that race and Heikki, like usual was no where. Heikki has a race win, does that make him better than Nick? Heikki merely inherited his win after a dominant Massa’s engine let go in the final laps. Nick has more podiums, more points, more 2nd place finished than any other non winning driver in F1 history. Surely then he deserves a seat. If you don’t like the guy that’s fine, but don’t write him off just yet.

            10. Nick really is one of the drivers who should have but didn’t, Like Gilles and his championship or lack there of, Heidfeld has his win.

            11. Chris Amon never won a race. Your argument is invalid.

            12. Nick has never had a problem with Robert. In fact he is on record for saying Robert arriving made him raise his game. They did have a coming together on the track but that is always a chance when you have two evenly match drivers. In 2008 Nick had two fastest laps to his name (when this meant something) and pulled some stunning overtaking. Nick was no more off the pace of Robert than Kimi was off the pace of Felipe during 2008.

    11. Yes why not?? It was the tyres companies decision to have him as a test driver & with no racing this season any driver will grab it with both hand.With all the big teams having their seat booked Renault & Sauber are looking a good option for him.

    12. YES!! Heidfeld SHOULD drive next season and I hope he will. Not just because of the testing for Pirelli, but also for his driving skills. He knows how to take a car to the finishline and take home points when needed. When the package is right, he can go a long way. It won’t be easy though finding a seat at a topteam. I would like to see him racing at Sauber again for next season.

      1. surely the Sauber ship sailed this year, otherwise he wouldnt have had to take the Merc seat in the hope schumi would leave.
        I’d love to see him at renault and take on RK again, but i dont see Renault going down that route despite the haul of points that Nick would bring home.

        1. Heidfeld chose to go to Mercedes before Schumi was a done deal there. So in the end he lost out after a bit of a gamble.

          Not too much of a gamble though, as he would not want to race for free or bring money to a new team and Sauber was not interested in having him either.

        2. I loved the pairing of Nick and Robert, it was a consistent, point scoring machine. I don’t know how much money Petrov is bringing in, but toppling Mercedes in the constructor’s championship would bring more, and the points Nick would bring to Renault would surely do it. They were the best pairing in recent seasons after Kimi and Massa.

          1. Nick and Robert during 2008 got BMW Sauber into leading the constructor’s championship. There is no ways that car was as good as either Ferrari or Macca. People also forget that Nick bettered Mark Webber when team mates, with more podiums and even a pole position. At Williams that year Mark got only one podium being at Monaco (the circuit he is rated as being so good) but he was still beaten by Nick into third position in the same team. Were Nick in the Red Bull rather than Mark this season he would probably be leading the Championship.

    13. O, and uhm……..bring on the Pirelli testing pics with Quick Nick in the Toyota TF109 in Pirelli outfit…..GREAT!!

      Thanks…. ;-)

      1. the car is in white, no livery!

        (picture link in todays roundup, see COTD)

        1. I’ll be waiting for the pirelli girls

    14. No I don’t think he ought to be allowed to drive next season, there’s limited testing allowed for the other teams and this is as far as I see it the same situation.

      Anyway if he gets a seat for next season who’s to say that Pirelli would have finished their development of the tyres. They themselves would most likely prefer that he stays with them in order to have a consistent driver feedback on their development.

    15. This testing might make him a decent option to even the bigger teams.

    16. Yes he should be allowed to drive – I hope he goes back to Sauber to give them a lift or Renault to whoop Kubica’s ass :)

    17. All the teams will receive the data that Heidfeld gathers. So whoever employs Heidfeld has no advantage there.

      The only advantage that Heidfeld has is that he has driven the new tyres already.

      Every drivers gets thousands of kilometers in winter testing. That should be enough to get used to the new tyres.

      Schumacher’s problem is more related to the fact that Brawn got the development of their 2010 car wrong than anything.

      So Heidfeld hardly has any advantage at all let alone that his “intimate knowledge” can be “abused”.

    18. Yes, but only after the November test when all teams get to try the tyres.

    19. I can’t believe how overrated he is on this thread.
      I bet no one who isn’t biased has missed him at all this season.
      There are so many better drivers currently in F1 that deserve more fans.

      1. I’ve definitely missed him, he was a fantasy f1 player’s dream. Hugely undervalued and a great racer who always came through the pack, and had a real eye for staying out of mid-field trouble. Won me two fantasy league championships over the years. This year is proving tougher without him!

        1. Just like Webber I guess. Every prediction round here you can see how people rate Webber way lower than Vettel.

          Button too in a way. Hamilton may be a driving god, but in the end Button is rarely far behind.

          People seem to like to root for a driver who will make do or die attempts rather than drivers who play it safe yet always just about maximize their result.

          Probably the same reason why peope like Sutil or Kobayashi. A single “very good” position during a race says a whole lot more than a whole slew of “good” result. No matter if that “very good” position doesn’t end in a result and/or if the other races give mediocer results.

    20. Even Heidfeld will be surprised with the tyres that the drivers will race with come 2011.

    21. Nope, if Mercedes are willing to let him work for Pirelli, then he should work all next season for Pirelli, and not be allowed anywhere near any of the teams, apart from on an official basis.
      If, in fact he is at Pirelli but still being paid by Mercedes, then isn’t that close to insider knowledge?

    22. Will he be allowed to stay in contact with his old friends at Mercedes GP?

      1. Oh, of course. He just won’t be able to stay with the team and give them the data that he collects from the tests.

        1. No, he will be texting his old workmates with all the useful info he can find, or maybe emailing Ross and Norbert instead…..
          Isn’t any information about any part of the car going to be an advantage to any driver or team? Who knows, maybe this time next year we will all be discussing ‘Pirelligate’ :-)

    23. In November Pirelli get info and feedback from all team and continue the development so it shouldn’t be any problem for Heidfeld, as patrickl says.

    24. I’m concerned as to to what extent he has been released from Mercedes.
      I wouldn’t be all that suprised if he was on a highly paid mission to tailor the Pirelli tyres specifically for Schumi.

      As far as Heidfeld is concerned, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t drive next year.

    25. I don’t really see it as being an unfair advantage. heidfeld would much rather have been racing this season and it isn’t against the rules. It may not be equal for all the teams but right now they have the chance whether to hire Heidfeld or not so they do have equal opportunity.

      I think some information about the tyres will be appealing. It’s simply a bonus to hiring an experienced driver who was generally ahead of Kubica. So he never won a race, only the BMW of 08 actually won a race and it was just one. Yes, maybe Heidfeld should have won but he let his teammate through and was on a different strategy. There were times like Bahrain 08 where Robert seemed to fall apart in the race when Nick was the dependable one. They worked well together yet Nick is nothing and Kubica definitely a champion. It doesn’t make sense to me.

      I don’t think the information will help that much but teams are obsessive about getting any advantage so maybe something crazy will happen and he’ll get a drive. I don’t see it though, all the good teams have drivers confirmed minus Renault and Heidfeld said last year he didn’t want to race for an unreliable new team. He could go with Sauber but Peter didn’t seem to want him so much before, maybe on his talent or if Pedro has money. We’ll soon see if Heidfeld is desperate to have a drive and race for a new team or if the established teams actually think he’s worth it.

    26. The advantage that is being argued here would be rather significant if Pirelli hired Heidfeld to develop and build their tyres from the scratch, in which case, they would bound to go the way to suit Heidfeld’s style.

      In this case, however, Pirelli already developed a tyre and will use Heidfeld simply to put the tyres through different stints and see how long they’d last and how will tyre perform under different temperatures.

      Knowledge Heidfeld is going to gain from testing Pirelli rubber will be insignificant for Mercedes or any other team as there is no actual comparison – Heidfeld has very little to no information at all about existing tyres and cars and verbally, he cannot convey the information to any existing team that will help them develop their cars better for next year so, I think concerns are rather unjustified.

      1. Indeed.

        All he can do is tell the developers how the tyres worked on the Toyota.

        How can you design a car on that?

        Pirelli will provide the teams with much more detailed data from the telemetry and such.

        THAT’s what the designers need and that’s what they ALL will get.

    27. I think Nick is a great driver, and I think he should get a chance next year. This testing isn’t advantage at all, as it is done with old car it won’t translate directly into 2011 machines.

    28. Without a doubt he should be allowed. He won’t be driving the same car in a race, so what does it matter? Nobody knows what the new tires will be like. Not even Heidfeld after his stint.

    29. Yeah, let the guy race. Why not? The tyres he’ll test prior to November will be nothing like the final spec chosen for the 2011 season opener.

      The rest of the grid shouldn’t worry about being disadvantaged. Look at all the hyperbole about Button/Hamilton regarding tyres pre-season. I don’t see Lewis struggling to make his tyres last and jenson pouncing later on with fresher rubber as predicted. That’s because Lewis figured the tyres out in testing. They all have plenty of time to get to grips with the new rubber so no need to sabotage Nick’s carrier with the what if’s of car manufacturers.

    30. Yes, yes and yes.

      1st of all, why not? He is a driver, maybe not the best out there but a decent one and he deserves his chance to drive. Some additional knowledge about the tires isn’t game breaking.

      2nd, he won’t have as much influence on the development. He’s more of a working mule that’s going to put some mileage and then comment on that. I dont see danger of manipulating the tires here.

      And last, but not least, that will give him the edge when talking about driver seat next season. Top spots are taken, sure, but the midfield is pretty much open thing still. Heidfeld in one of those teams equals tighter competition in the midfield. Yay!

    31. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to compete. In the season he will have missed (and given he’s testing in a 2009 Toyota) he’s hardly going to be up to speed with ‘insert-latest-aero-gimmick’ here. So he may well suffer with that while having tyre experience advantage.

    32. Of course he should. It’s like saying only rookies can race because all the other drivers have been around the circuit before.

      Sadly it looks like this debate is all going to be about Heidfeld doing it rather than any Joe Bloggs.

      1. Agree with you Icthyes. I really don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to

    33. Yes.

      The only reason he would have an advantage over other drivers is because he worked really hard as part of his role at Pirelli. It sets a precedent for other drivers, who will be clambering over each other to test for Pirelli, which could mean Pirelli could have access to a wider variety of input from drivers, some of whom are world champions, and all have different driving styles.

      But really, the advantage he will get in terms of inside information is small, given that the track has a lot to do with how a tyre performs, and the car will be different. If he can milk an advantage, it will be no more than what someone like Button is able to achieve with a smooth driving style.

      Teams also get to test tyres on their cars during testing, and should be able to work out some of the nuances of the tyres then. Also, each team will have a Pirelli engineer there who has a better understanding of the tyres than Heidfeld would.

      There’s no reason to stop him from racing.

    34. Still……..what’s the big deal if an active F1 driver, racing or testing, does this work. It has to be done anyway you look at it. Active team/driver or not, it doesn’t matter. I remember Jos Verstappen doing the Bridgestone testing back in 1996(?) with a Ligier I think! And Michelin had Muller behind the wheel of a Williams, mind you…….They didn’t benefit from this for all I know.
      All parties involved in F1 will benefit from this testing. Pirelli has to start somewhere. And the teams can finish it off at the end of the year for finetuning.
      People get so excited about these things. All I can say is; GO NICK. GO PIRELLI.

    35. There’s no reason for him not to race and I’m pretty sure someone will pick him up. The only reason why he isn’t racing this year is because he was gambling on a seat in a top team and we know that he very narrowly missed out on that (Hasn’t Martin Whitmarsh said that he would have signed Heidfeld if they didn’t have the chance to sign Button?).
      Even without the Pirelli test deal he would be a great driver for any midfield team.

    36. His ‘punishment’ as such is the fact he hasn’t been able to race this season at all. He shouldn’t be hindered further simply because luck has come to him at the right time after being patient and not complaining about his situation.

    37. I think he agreed to do the testing in order to give him a chance to actually get a race seat next season based on his experience.

      He would never have agreed to do the testing if he was precluded from getting a race drive for 2011.

    38. Silly question IMHO. Of course he should be allowed to race next year. Its not like he’ll bring a bushel basket of data with him. Any driver worth his salt will be able to strap on the new shoes and get a quick sense of how they are reacting, on any particular chassis.

      Base line data is all the same, its more crucial to see how the tires work with a particular cars setup. See Schumi and Rosbereg for performance comparisons.

    39. Of course he should. Heidfeld on the basis of his driving skills alone should be eligible for a drive. The added knowledge of Pirelli tyres make him a bargain.

      People who say Heidfeld is over-rated probably forget his team-mates. Raikkonnen, Felipe Massa, Villenueve (I hope I got the spelling right), Kubica are all far more over-rated than Heidfeld.

      Top 4 teams are fixed, Heidfeld’s best chance is Renault or Force India. If Renault have enough funds they will definitely let go of Petrov and draft in Heidfeld. I would love to see him alongside Kubica and thrash Kubica like he did in 2007 and 2009. This will probably show people that Kubica isn’t all that spectacular as he is made up to be.

    40. Younger Hamilton
      18th August 2010, 18:37

      Yes Definately,i wont be surprised after this season that the new teams(especially and Most Likely Hispania) start chasing and contacting him.This is a big boost for Nick with he’s F1 and Pirelli experience whoever signs him,will have a decent advantage at the beginning of the season.

    41. If he can find a team, of course he should be allowed. He is testing tires. Am I incorrect in thinking that tire manufacturers continue development during the season? Also, the car he is testing in is not one that is built to 2011 specs. I’m thinking the edge, if it amounts to much at all is going to be very short lived.

    42. I don’t see anyone claiming that Ferrari should not have raced when Bridgestone was making them bespoke tires, meticulously tested and conformed to the tastes of Michael Schumacher and his car. So why should we care if little ole Nick Heidfeld gets a go at the tires to be supplied to the entire field a few months early?

      Heidfeld should be in the car right now, is the answer to the poll question, because one of the guys in the car is not getting it done. And that’s why you have a talented sub on retainer.

    43. I dont care about Nick. He is boring driver :)

      1. He does make a lot of passes during a season. Pretty good ones too.

    44. DaveW makes an excellent point about the switch to Bridgestone and Ferrari’s intimate relationship with them to that point.

      I think there would be a good court battle if the FIA tried to prevent Heidfeld from getting a seat. As fa as I know, there is no regulation that would address this. If this turns out to be a problem for the FIA or the teams, I fear this would be another case of them all making the rules up as they go along.

      I also agree with Keith, though. This is no guarantee of NH having a race seat for next year.

    45. Not only should he drive in 2011, he should be driving Schumacher’s car!

    46. Heidfeild should drive next year because he will be most used to the tyres so he will have an advantage.

    47. I think Cari created this poll just to get us all fighting about how great/crap we think Quick Nick is! Nothing to do really about possible unfair advantages! :D

      1. I don’t know what you mean… Interesting result though – 80% support is almost a landslide.

    48. Yes, I think it is sad that he is not in a ride, but that is racing.

    49. Damon Hill, the 1996 World Champion, tested the Bridgestone tyres for 1997. I never heard anyone say he shouldn’t be allowed to drive that year.

    50. He should race…Maybe ‘armed’ with the Pirelli tyres expertise he will finally win a race…since he hasn’t won anything since 2009…

    51. It would be an extreme injustice if Heidfeld werent allowed to race. Nothing hones your skills as a racing driver like actually getting out there and ‘racing’. If anything. he is at a disadvantage.

      And to think that he hasnt even got a race seat this year when he is more talented than most drivers on the grid ??

      He deserves a race seat. I was actually surprised he didnt get a race seat this year. As much as I respect Shumi’s past results. Heidfeld would challenge Rosberg more so than shuey in todays era.

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