Renault confirm Heidfeld to take Kubica’s place

2011 F1 season

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Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Renault have confirmed Nick Heidfeld will take the place of the injured Robert Kubica at the team.

Heidfeld said: “I would have liked to come back to Formula 1 in different circumstances, but I’m proud to have been given this chance.

“Everything has happened so quickly, but I’ve been very impressed by what I have seen so far in terms of the facilities and the dedication of the people at Enstone.

“I really enjoyed the test last week in Jerez and I’ve already settled in well with the guys at the track. I have a good feeling for the car, which is quite innovative. I’m extremely motivated and can’t wait for the season to begin.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “The team has been through a very difficult couple of weeks and we had to react quickly.

“We gave Nick a chance in Jerez last week and he really impressed us. He’s quick, experienced and is very strong technically with his feedback and understanding of the car.

“We always said the priority was to have an experienced driver in the car and we feel he is the ideal man for the job.

“We are pleased to welcome Nick to the team and look forward to a strong start to the season with him and Vitaly in Bahrain.”

Heidfeld will drive the car in the Barcelona test on Friday morning, sharing it with Vitaly Petrov for pit stop practice, and on Saturday and Sunday. Petrov will drive the car the rest of the time.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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137 comments on “Renault confirm Heidfeld to take Kubica’s place”

  1. Good decision, because there wasn’t better driver on the market. Hope, he can take his first win this year.

    1. It would be great if he got a win!! Good news.

      1. yep, if he got the win would be bit of a fairytale story. It is really bad for the sport when the likes of Heifield & Hulkenberg haven’t got drives when ones with far less talent have. Pity Bernie couldn’t have some sort of system were teams with drivers that bring big amount of the teams sponsorship don’t get so much when the money is paid for their championship standing at end of year. Way things are there’s not enough of a penalty and you can’t blame the teams.

    2. I’m sure he will be one of the surprises in 2011

  2. Great news, I really hope Heidfeld does well for Renault.

  3. OMG… not a better driver?
    Stupidest thing ever… Nick has been in the business for so long and does not have nothing to show for it. Experiance? blah….
    They shold have hired some prospects with money rather than washed up Heidfeld.
    I really will be suprised if renault gets any podiums.

    But hey, good luck Renault you are going to need it:)

    1. I think he has a lot to show for it. Not all drivers have the opportunity to win races and he has come close. He’s clearly not the best driver ever, but he is the best available driver. He has beaten his teammate on many occasions and he has made the best of non-winning cars. I think this is a great decision for a team in a terrible situation.

      Had Renault fired Kubica before the accident to replace him with Nick, then your comment would be justified, but given the circumstances, this is 100% logical.

      1. There’s no-one better for this role than Heidfeld. Taking on an inexperienced driver would be a huge risk for a team in their position.

        1. Agreed. Someone who knows anything about car development and what is needed to lead a team would understand why Heidfeld was picked. A rookie would get them nowhere as money can’t point you in the right direction, it simply gives you the opportunity to fund developments once an experienced driver determines what needs to be done.

          As for Nick having “nothing to show” for all his years in the sport, how about 12 podiums in non-front running cars? Button essentially had “nothing to show” for his years in the sport before he got a decent car… As mfDB said, not everyone has the chancce to win.

          Just sayin…

          Go Heidfeld!!!

          1. Nice comment. Agree 100%. Go Nick prove them wrong!!! Many of us believe in you! What if you hit the WDC??? who knows? :)

          2. I wonder how much this car having been developed with Kubica in mind will favour Nick? Given their shared history I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Nick felt right at home once his seat was fitted.

            Nick is a good driver who has been unfortunate enough to have some great team mates… Kimi, Massa and Kubica all of whom he more than kept honest.

            Watch some of his racing.

    2. I disagree, I think Renault does well hiring Nick because obviously there isn’t a potential WDC at the market right now (Kimi is just not interested) so… the best plan for Renault is to have someone with enough experience so they can develop the car this year to have a better car for next year.
      It is too bad, but if they have a car that is goo enough to be on the podium or to win a race or two, they have to forget about that… And who knows, maybe Nick can pull up a surprise, I’ll be routing for that to happen

      1. Agreed. Räikkönen would’ve been the best choice, but since he wasn’t interested Heidfeld was the second best option… 2nd best seams to be a theme in Heidfeld’s career. Hopefully this will be the opportunity he needs to buck that trend and finally win a race! Schwarz-Rot-Gold!

        1. It really does seem to be his role, doesn’t it?

          But best luck Quick Nick to take the car where it goes (and a bit further, please?) to help the team.
          Sure if he does well, Renault will have to think about letting Kubica have the car this year, but I bet they would love to be in such a position.

    3. Don’t forget, of all the cars Heidfeld has driven over the years, only one has ever won a race – and on that occasion it was helped by retirements (correct me if I’m wrong), so “nothing to show for it” needs to be seen in perspective.

      Nick has far more to show for his time in F1 than many, and whilst he might lack some of the ability to outperform the car that Kubica has, he’ll get the car to the end of the race and into the points on a regular basis, and probably nab the odd podium if the car’s up to it, which is exactly what Renault need. They’ve made the right choice.

    4. Name ONE driver that is a better choice at this point

      I bet you can’t

      Sure he’s not the best of the best, but he still is a solid option.

      1. Nige, hah. It would be great to see his grittiness on track again. So he’s fat and old for F1. I’m fat and old to be alive!

        1. You sound like Garfields grand dad?

    5. I’m not a Heidfeld fan but there’s hardly a word right in your comment:

      Not a better driver-who was better and available?

      Not the stupidest thing ever by any means and childish of you to say so.

      Nick hasn’t anyhting to show in all his years in F1? How about faring really well against all of his team-mates, none of whom were slouches, and beating most of them?

      Experience is not blah it’s one of the most important things in F1. If you can’t see that then you know nothing about F1.

      None of the prospects with money, would give them the same return as FOM will give them for the not so washed up Heidfeld’s results.

      Your speculation about Renault not getting any podiums is entirely consistent with the rest of your trolling comment. No more to add

    6. He has 12 podiums to show for it. And two top 6 championship positions.

      Who would you rather have seen in the seat? The guy who got outperformed by someone who hadn’t driven since mid-2006? Or better yet, the one who got annihilated by Adrian Sutil?

    7. Sass, you have no idea what you are talking about.

      Great that Heidfeld got the drive!

      I’m pretty sure when he was teammates with Kubica Heidfeld beat him/had more points overall. Are you saying Kubica is not a good driver?

    8. they needed someone who can develop the car throughout the season. Renault have said that all along. a rookie would be a poor choice.

  4. Good News,Hope Nick finally breaks his duck and wins.

    1. I hope so too, just because it will make him very happy and he deserves it.

    2. It would be a great moment for the sport if Nick could take a win this year. He was down and out, but he got another chance and hopefully he will make the most of it. All the best Nick!

  5. From day one when they said Kubica wouldn’t make the start of the season and they were gonna ask Heidfeld to test i said Nick would be the best choice and that they would choose him.

    He’ll produce good performances and do well by the team and deserves the chance to drive this season even if it is only going to be the first half, possibly.

    1. Oh wow aren’t you so clever.

      Somebody give this guy a team

      1. LOL. In all seriousness, he would do a better job than Kolles at HRT. I’m sure he would have the common sense to recruit someone better than Karthikeyan.

    2. I don’t think you were the only one to think that thought. Renault needed someone with experience to offset Petrov. Nick gives them this. It was a pretty simple decision in my book.

  6. I wonder if they’ll keep him on if he has a shot at the championship.

    1. They may keep him even if he doesn’t.

      1. Agree. Massa was fit to test some cars but he was intelligently kept out of F1 for the whole of 2009, and Kubica might need more time to recover.

        1. You mean for the remainder of 2009 right? Massa’s accident happened mid season, so he was only out of the car about 6 months. If Kubica sits out the season it’ll be a whole year before he’s back in a car.

          1. Yes, sorry, I meant the the whole part of 2009 left. A bit complex :)

  7. heidfeld back for racing. Good for him and smart decision for renault.

    1. Awesome find, pretty interesting video

    2. Nice seeing Keith for real :)
      Hey Keith, not putting any extra pounds hey ? Is your wife really feeding you ? :)
      About Heidfeld, yes logical choice surely since he did run pretty well last week, but when is B.Senna ever going to get a chance then ? Boullier did say that he would be the third driver, and now, Heifeld is up. I have a hard time getting it !?
      Not my favorite, for sure, but hey, I don’t make the call…

      1. Boullier said Senna would be the first reserve driver before Kubica’s accident. He almost certainly meant Senna would be the first choice if Kubica or Petrov was unavailable for a couple of races, not a whole season.

        After all, it’s one thing giving an unproven, inexperienced driver a chance in a single race. It’s quite another thing putting everything you’ve invested into an entire season into the hands of an unproven driver. Had it been Petrov out for the whole of 2011 Senna may have been asked to step up. But the whole Renault team is so focussed around a strong lead driver – as it was when Schumacher and Alonso won their back to back titles.

        1. Completely agree on that, Senna is fine to replace a driver for one or two races, but not the WHOLE season. Heidfeld perfect for the job!

    3. Very cool and informative Q and A. Thanks for the link.

  8. Same old…same old….This is disappointing.

    1. Don’t you like the old pope?

      1. I love JP II

        1. Do you reckon he could muster up a JPS livery?

          Jean Paul the Second.. Red and Gold? What do you reckon?

          1. I love JP too, Juan Pablo that is :p

          2. Nope, strictly White and Gold!


            And I should have said Blessed JP II

  9. its the same old
    renault did want kimi raikkonen but he said he wud rather stay in rallying so renault did not consider him. otherwise on the whole raikkonen is a better driver that heidfeld in nearly every way.
    renault had to sign heidfeld they had no choice
    it was either heidfeld or luizzi or senna
    renault wanted a driver who can challenge for the title
    heidfeld not a chance in hell

  10. Renault has done well with their choice. Heidfeld will do well for them as he has showed his abilities before. He had never been in a car good enough to fight for wins or championships. If Renault has a good car this year, Heidfeld can fight for his first win.

  11. Bummer of a reason to be in, but oh so glad to see Quick Nick back in frame. This could be the car for him!

  12. Great news, always one of my favorite drivers. Hope he does well enough this season to find a permanent drive at a major team.

  13. Of course this is a perfectly right choice, although a tremendously boring one.

    1. What rubbish people are talking. “Boring”!? I cannot recall seeing anyone else overtake multiple people in one corner so many times…

      1. Haha, you’re referring to Silverstone ’08 right? To see a double overtake is rare, to see two in one race by the same driver at the same corner…

        1. He also did it in Malaysia in the same year (on Alonso and Coulthard).

        2. Yeah that was it! Last corner at Silverstone if I remember right. Very exciting to watch!

  14. Stephen Higgins
    16th February 2011, 18:51

    Must be another ‘development’ year for Renault then. Great drivers burst onto the scene, Nick Heidfeld has somewhat dribbled in, and out.

    He’s the F1 equivalent of Joe Mc’Elderry, all the ‘right’ attributes put in place, yet dropped when he doesn’t hit No1. Then the next big thing comes along and no-one cares frankly.

    As a driver I find him dull and uninspiring to watch. Putting Bruno Senna in the cars would have been an inspiring thing to do for us F1 romantics.

    Putting heildfeld in the car will generate noncholant shrugs from the hacks and a bottom-page collumn in Autosport.

    1. Putting Bruno Senna in the cars would have been an inspiring thing to do for us F1 romantics.

      Romantics, largely as a result of sharing the name of a Brazilian three time champion doesn’t mean you should get a ride over better drivers. Go ask Renault about the mistake they made three years ago.

      Heidfeld seemed to be “dull” to some, and I wasn’t necessarily a fan, but the guy was capable of doing inspiring things.

      His record against good teammates speaks for itself, so good luck to him.

      1. Nice clip showing Nick’s overtakes!

      2. What an awesome video link, thanks!

      3. Now all we need is a clip of all of Liuzzi’s great overtakes. Just to see what that Saward fellow thinks we missed …

        I remember his “tango” with Massa in Canada.

  15. I think Renault have made a mistake hiring Heidfeld. Yes he’s experienced but that’s not what Renault need. They need somebody young with a hunger to succeed. All the posters on this site saying Renault need experience, well think about how “Quick Nick” got his break. If Sauber employed that tactic in 2001 neither him or Kimi would have made it into F1. If memory serves me right Sauber did quite well in 2001 with 2 rookies.

    1. They have Petrov to fill the “hungry rookie” slot.

      Why would they want 2 rookies? Renault is not some backmarker team, they claim to have intentions to perform as a top team.

      1. Renault aren’t a backmarker team but they aren’t a title challenger either, not this year. The best they can hope for is a fluke podium.

        1. I don’t think anyone can really guess what state Renault or any of the teams will be in this coming season. It’s still far too early.

          Sauber had nothing to lose when they ran two rookies as they’ve never really challenged for anything. Renault managed the odd podium last year and perhaps they could build on that with a reliable driver. Also, Renault will at least want to beat Mercedes in the standings so that’ll help too.

          1. Steph, you can safely say RBR and Ferrari are in with a shot of the championship, but is there anyone else that can join them?

          2. Steph, you can safely say RBR and Ferrari are in with a shot of the championship, but is there anyone else that can join them?


        2. The best they can hope for is a fluke podium.

          Why is that? They got three good podiums last year, if we were to use that for reference. On the other hand, Steph is right that it is still too early to guess.

          A upper-midfield team, with intentions of getting back to title contention that they experienced 5 years ago need a solid dependable driver in at least one of their seats. With Heidfeld, they have that. In Petrov, they have the young driver in their team who can possibly improve and show us his full potential.

      2. I agree. Nick was the obvious choice. I prefer him to Liuzi, more consistent, more solid.

    2. Nick would have done considering he’d already done a year with Prost in 2000…

      Renault have a chance of fighting for regular podiums, possibly even wins. If they want to maintain that throughout the year then they need an experienced driver to help develop the car and deliver consistant results.

    3. @Tifosino1
      No they don’t, they need someone to temporarily replace their experienced star driver. This is not a situation where a team is simply looking for a new driver and hoping they can move said driver up the ladder. This is a desperate team with a good car trying to TEMPORARILY fill a position.

      If this happened at your company, and they needed to temporarily replace your boss, is is smart to hire a consulting expert that can come in and do the job with minimal discussions and training or do you hire some kid out of college that needs years of training, just to have that kid replaced when your boss returns.

      1. Perfect analogy mfDB.

      2. mfDB… I agree 100% again with you. Excellent analogy.

  16. Good news, as predicted.

  17. Amazingly they didn’t even bother testing Liuzzi …

    Good choice. Really the only choice I’d say.

    Sad it was needed to replace Kubica, but yeah.

  18. He’s one of those drivers we’re not gonna get rid of for a long time… So much for him being out of a race seat for good after ’09. That is a good thing though, I’ve always loved Heidfeld.

  19. If Heidfeld was any good then he would have had a drive this year before Kubica’s accident. Personally, I don’t see why the team wants an experienced driver – F1 is not won by experienced drivers, it’s won by fast drivers.

    I’m a big Schumacher fan but what good was his experience last year when he was soundly thrashed by his faster team-mate?

    If I was Renault, I would let some new blood have a chance and see – who know what may happen. Just because the Sennas and Schumachers of the world all started in little teams and then got into more established teams doesn’t mean that this is the best way of doing things. Hamilton came right into a top team and came second in the WDC in his first year.

    1. Heidfeld simply fell through the cracks when Button moved to McLaren and Schumacher to Mercedes. Kubica and Renault’s finances blocked his move to Renault. So then nothing was left.

    2. In fact, it might be Rosberg who was the most experienced of the Mercedes pair with the current cars as Michael was out for 3 seasons. So it’s a non-comparable case.

      You really need experience to develop a car. You also need experience in the races to grasp hold of the situation(e.g. Hamilton’s case in China 2007, funny that you give his example because more experienced driver would’ve won that championship). You usually need both speed and experience to succeed in F1 although of course speed is the basic thing as experience can be gained, but this fact is irrelevant in Renault’s case as they need replacement now to give them direction for development.

      And speaking of speed, Heifeld has fared rather well against all his team-mates who were all good drivers. He’s certainly faster than any other driver who was available. Added to his experience it made this choice a no-brainer.

    3. Siv, see my comment above, training new blood is not what they need right now. After all, we are all expecting Kubica to return aren’t we…..

    4. Heidfeld is a fast driver, his sustained race pace is as good as anyone’s, he’s just not been a great qualifier but a large part of that was his style didn’t suit Bridgestone tyres, who knows how he’ll fare on Pirellis.

    5. I’m still not convinced. In 5 races together last year, Heidfeld only outqualified Kobyashi once and only finished in front of him once. And Koby was only in his first full season…

  20. Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia Robert!
    Although good luck to Nick, this could be the first race-winning car of his career (the BMW F1.08 doesn’t count, Kubica lucked into that win with Hamilton’s childish mistake which took out Raikkonen).

  21. tomforpresident
    16th February 2011, 19:17

    On one hand i would really like Heidfeld to do well, and shut up all the doubters. never really been a huge heidfeld fan but i think he is getting a lot of flack for no reason.

    on the other hand, if he does do well, what happens when kubica is fit to return? Given the reports we are getting it looks unlikely that he will be better within the first half of the season, surely there is a point of no return if Heidfeld is consistently scoring points or heavens forbid fighting for the championship that they just wouldnt bring Kubica back.

    Is it a possibility he could steal Petrovs seat if he under performs? or is that comoplicated with hime being a pay driver.

    Anyway, i ramble but I would like to hear your thoughts.

    1. I was actually hoping to see Senna hijack Petrov’s seat, as Petrov WILL underperform as he did last year.

      1. tomforpresident
        16th February 2011, 19:23

        i think its right that senna didnt get heidfelds seat, but if petrov does underperform again than it will be good to see senna get a seat in a decent car.

    2. My prediction is that Kubica will return to F1 sooner than expected and that Petrov will stay with Renault in 2012 not only because of his sponsors but because his performance will be better in 2011, too. Petrov has some experience now and the team is not built around Kubica anymore so I think that Petrov will have more support from the team and more self-confidence in 2011 as well. I don’t think that Heidfeld will be able to fight for the title in 2011 but he might bring some very good results and that should increase his chances of getting a seat in another team.

      1. I’m more leaning towards Petrov not improving and possibly being replaced mid season.

        It’s just like Piquet. Petrov just hasn’t improved all season. Why they kept them on was a mystery(well afterwards we knew he had some dirt on Flav and Petrov has the money)

      2. My prediction is that Nick will outperform Petrov in a equivalent in points as 70/30 (Robert ain’t coming back this year).
        Nick will get Petrov seat for 2012 alongside Kubica

        1. IIRC Kubica (or was it Raikkonen?) already explained that that is not going to happen. Apparently Renault don’t have the resources to accomodate two top drivers.

      3. I agree with this comment. I honestly don’t understand the serious flack people are giving Petrov, especially when comparing him to Piquet who was a genuinely horrendous driver and personality. I think Petrov has a lot more confidence this season and will be improving his performance and will be getting a lot more support this season from Renault, something that was lacking last year (as Renault are notorious for their treatment of #2 drivers).

        Petrov and Kubica have very similar driving styles; though a lot of people would like to argue otherwise, Éric Boullier mentioned the same thing in the past. Then again, until Melbourne you can’t make too many assumptions on how the playing field is going to turn out (I skip Bahrain, doesn’t seem like a real GP to me :V).

  22. Heidfeld is experienced and consistent, but lacks some aggressiveness: I remember a race, where he passed the Pit exit, and someone aggressive came out from the Pit. It seemed to me that Heidfeld wavered to the side, as to invite the driver onto the track and Heidfeld was passed. Had it been an aggressive driver, the door had been shut in the face of the driver coming out from the pits. But apart from that he can be fantastic as he was in the rain on Silverstone, where his call served him the possibility to jump 7 places on the last 2 laps, as I remember. I’m looking forward to seeing him racing again. Hopefully a year on the sidewall has made him hungry and a little more aggressive.

    1. Heidfeld actually has a lot of great overtaking moves to his name. He can be quite aggressive when he needs to be.

      Pretty much like Button. Indeed they will have consistency (finishing in the points) as their highest priority, but if the opportunity arises, they will do what it takes to grab it.

  23. Well I am not keen on the prospect of having the hairiest F1 season ever. I believe that Heidfeld needs a shave and that Tonio Liuzzi is more cute anyway.

    Other than that, I believe that Renault has made the right choice. Heidfeld has actually been outperforming his team mates (including Raikkonen, Massa, Webber and Kubica) most of the time. I have got a feeling that 2011 could be a strong season for him.

  24. I would have liked seeing Liuzzi in that Renault beat the s..t out of the FI cars, just to see Mallya feeling happy. If he would have been up to that task.

    But this was pretty much as expected from last thursday on. I think Renault went with a safe hand to drive the car. The more when Kubica knows perfectly how to interpret his ideas on car development from their past time as teammates. He might even have another record braking second place, if the car is fast enough and with his trademark solid driving and a bit of luck (sorry all fans, a win is not in it for Nick and this Renault).
    Certainly we will now all be looking forward to seeing Kubica in that car asap.

    1. Liuzzi wasn’t any good in the FI nor the STR. Why would he all of a sudden start performing well in the Renault?

      1. Yea, he was fired twice and one of those was from a signed contract. he’s done

      2. I was not for a moment suggesting, that I think Liuzzi would do wonders in that car. Just how nice it would be to see him beat the FI cars.

        He got me a bit exited in his first year at Red Bull (a strange deal that was though). At STR, hard to say, it was a bit like the tailgates last year. When he got in at Monza he did show good pace, then again he knows the track really well. Last year was … nothing really.
        But I am not that much into Heidfeld, sure he is a safe pair of hands and we all would like Kubica back.
        But that summs it up for me, not exitement.

        1. Well, Heidfeld is not exciting maybe, but anything Liuzzi did after F3000 was simply a big disappointment.

          I’ll take “not excited” over “disappointed”.

          Besides, I don’t really see what the enjoyment would be of Liuzzi driving ahead of an FI in a faster car. If anyone should be upset about that deal going sour it’s Mallya. Mallya gave Liuzzi a chance and Liuzzi simply failed. Liuzzi kept claiming he could do better and he just never did.

          At worst you could blame Mallya for being so stupid to hire Liuzzi in the first place. Especially after the way Liuzzi got publicly humiliated by Tost for not performing in the STR.

  25. I would have enjoyed seeing Senna get another chance. Alot of drivers need a few seasons to mature and get better. Watching Heidfeld is just boring, boring personality etc. Bruno may not be the best choice, but it is sure exciting watching him hoping he does well, F1 needs their superstars.

    1. Why is it exciting watching Bruno race?? I can’t remember anything terribly great from him last season.

      1. You should try watching the start of the spanish GP last year before he got taken out. In that sh#tbox of a car he took his teammate, the virgins and the lotus’s and was battling with the torro rosso’s off the start line. And for all thos peaple who say he got outclassed by klien last year you are all ignorant. Yes Klien outqualified him at singapore (in a car that was much better than Senna’s) but come brazil he had out-raced him, and come abu dhabi he out qualified and out raced Klien (in a worse car which was public knowledge)
        And considering Bruno’s time in comparison to “quick” Nicks at Jerez the other day (just 0.150 secs slower on the same tyre) and how much faster than Petrov he was, I think people should be a little bit more respectful

  26. I read this on my iGoogle home page and thought for a split second he had signed for Lotus, most confused there for a second.

  27. Nick is F1’s journeyman, i would have hired some young blood and given them a shot. Nick is not a bad driver but he lacks the killer edge and speed that the top drivers have.

    The R31 is a real darkhorse though, so he may have just lucked into a top drive.

  28. So, are we going to be inundated with “Quick Nick” comments all year long? I don’t know what it is about the guy, but I think I enjoy watching Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock more than this guy, and that is not saying a whole lot.

    1. Perhaps even Mr. Fisichella?
      Or am I pushing it too far now?

    2. He’ll be quicker than the mighty Petrov, in any case.

  29. Renault have done the right thing. To have a black-helmeted driver in a black car is only correct, you cannot defy the laws of awesomeness ;-)

    1. A very true word. The foresight of this guy making such a helmet design is great. It really looks menacing!

  30. I read somewhere that Kubica was keen to see his good friend Liuzzi take over his seat (don’t know if it’s really true), but I think Renault made the logical choice. I expect he’ll do ok, and will probably wind up with a podium or two. As normal, it will mostly depend on the car. It’s possible that he and Renault might really surprise us. Hope so!

  31. While I’m happy for him, I don’t understand this whole “Heidfeld is finally getting the chance he deserves” nonsense. Let’s be honest here – Heidfeld has been in the sport a lot longer than most drivers could dream of, and he’s been quite underwhelming. He’s had dozens of chances in the past, and I think it’s fairly telling that he never graduated to a team like Ferrari or McLaren even though he consistently beat his team-mates. He’s not terminally overlooked, he’s a guy who just never impressed despite being given every opportunity to do so. The Renault R31 might be fast, but topping one test sessions is proof of nothing.

    1. It’s a near-as-fact that there are more drivers who deserve to be measured in a good car than there are spaces, so yes, Heidfeld is getting what he deserves, although I doubt the Renault is a top car yet.

      For most of Heidfeld’s career it has just been two teams, McLaren and Ferrari or Renault. First Raikkonen came out of nowhere to beat him to the McLaren seat, then there were a few young drivers top teams were excited about, before you know it Heidfeld is middle-aged in F1 terms and no top team takes them on unless they’re world champions, which Heidfeld never had any chance to be.

      he’s a guy who just never impressed despite being given every opportunity to do so

      Um…what? He’s never been in a race-winning car (no, 2008 does not count) and despite that has had 12 podiums. Nick impressed about as often as Button did before the Brawn Supremacy in equipment that was never quite as good.

      1. Maybe there’s a reason why he has never been in a race-winning car, unlike his former teammates Massa and Raikkonen.

        Button’s case is very rare though. He’s one of the luckiest drivers on the grid. Every driver dreams of a dominant car and a teammate called Barrichello.

        1. I wouldn’t say Button was lucky. There’s a lot in his previous results – particularly in 2004 and 2006 – that show he had a lot of potential. Unfortuantely, all anyone can remember is the period from 2007 to 2009.

          1. Agreed. Aand the brawn car was actually only the outright quickest for 3 races in 2009! And yet Jenson won 6! Vettel had the quickest car all year last year and how many did he win?

    2. How is it not impressive to over the balance of a season beat teammates such as Raikkonen and Kubica??? Honestly…

      1. Oh and add Massa to the list of teammates he’s beaten… hmmm

  32. Yeh, wouldn’t it have been nice to see a youngster like Senna in there. Problem is with two sophomore drivers the team would have gone nowhere all year. Speed is no substitute when you have a pressing need for experience, just ask Ross Brawn when he went for Barrichello over – oops – Bruno Senna.

  33. Heidfeld is their best choice, but at the same time that conclusion is also very sad for motor racing and Formula One in particular. After 174(!) races “Quick Nick” still has to collect his first win. Experience is fine, but since the testing ban it looks like it’s everything, apart from the money.

    1. I hope he gets his first win and gets it quickly. We don’t need too many virgins on the racetrack.

  34. Boullier: Yes Yes Robert, of course Liuzzi is our first choice.
    **Whispers to agents** Quick, while he’s in surgery, sign Nick!

  35. Sometimes just when you think that life passed you by, and you wish you had another chance – you get one.

    Nick has a really good chance to prove his skills. After losing his seat, I am sure he is more humble and more dedicated then ever. And so fortunate to land in such a good car that looks great. He must be so incredibly thrilled, I bet he is having trouble sleeping.

  36. Despite Kubica leaning towards Liuzzi, Renault made the logical decision. While I’m no Heidfeld fan, he’s very consistent and they call him Quick Nick for a reason! He might not win races, but he’ll bring the car home (something not guaranteed by Petrov) and he’ll add development input for the car. I also like Bruno Senna but an inexperienced line-up would be too much of a gamble for Renault. Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia Robert

  37. I was also pusbing for Senna, since I was looking for something fresh for this year’s championship in terms of driver lineup. Heidfeld is experienced and “quick”, but not front runner quick. Last year he got owned by Kobayashi, a rookie. Yes, Kobayashi had more races on te sauber, but Nick had time to catch up and learn the car in the available races, and he didn’t. Senna is a GP2 Monaco GP winner, as well as a Silverstone winner (in the rain)- two signs of an exciting talented racer. It would’ve been a risk, yes, but that’s what separates winners and losers.

    But I have to agree that choosing Heidfeld over de la Rosa and Liuzzi was indeed the better choice. Just not over Senna.

    1. I would hardly say he got owned by Kobayashi. Although out of five races he was outraced by Kobayashi in three (with both retiring in Singapore), two of those were really close, with Heidfeld finishing just one place behind his teammate.

      I’m no Heidfeld fanboy, but I do think he’s pretty talented and that, if the Renault is quick enough, we might be in for some surprises this year. I really hope he gets to win a race, at least.

  38. Some say that Renault wouldn’t put Kubica back in the car if Heidfeld performed well.
    I think that since F1 is more business than sport now, if only Kubica was fit enough to drive he would get his seat back. Just imagine what publicity will Renault get when/if he comes back. All eyes on them. I bet all the sponsors as well as the owner couldn’t wish for more..

  39. I remember seeing Heidfeld at the Goodwood Festival years ago when he was McLaren’s (I think) test driver. This was before they stopped timing the F1 cars and the commitment he showed in the damp was that of a proper F1 driver.

    I hope the new Renault is as good as it looked with Kubica in it and that Nick grabs this chance with both hands.

  40. I completely understand why Renault have gone for Heidfeld, he is/was the best option available and I’m sure, as other people have said, that when Eric Boullier said Senna was first in line, he meant for a race or two, not an extended period of time.

    But for Renault’s sake I just hope it’s written that way in Senna’s contract, and not the way Boullier said it, or they could find themselves in a legal mess very quickly.

    Still, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that and from a racing fan’s point of view, the Enstone squad couldn’t have made a better choice.


  41. Nick Heidfeld. F1s equivalent to a damp Sunday afternoon in Margate.

  42. I think this is the right decision, a quick, experienced driver,who has yet had a car capable of winning. Will germany have another f1 hero in the making- doubt it-bring on Bahrain. And, one question, is the livery on the williams permanent? If so, it is the laziest design ever witnessed.

  43. i think he is the best AVAILABLE driver, eventhough for some reason kubica thinks otherwise, if the news i read are correct.
    It seems odd that kubica says that vitantonio luizzi is a better choice. If he said so, it’s either because he doesn’t like him, or because he thinks he can be a problem when he is ready to return.
    When massa was sidelined in 2009, kubica couldn’t substitute him because couldn’t fit in the car, now it’s the other way around. Wouldn’t this be a problem? I hope not.

  44. I’m good with Nick going to Renault… I’d like to see him with a more consistent #2. I’m sure the car was designed around Kubies driving style and I dunno where that will put Nick in terms of dealing with the car.

  45. Heidfeld is the right choice, i’m happy

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