Heidfeld aims to score podiums from start

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Barcelona, 2011

Nick Heidfeld says he hopes Renault can be in contention for top-three finishes from the start of the season.

He said: “We have an idea where we stand, but nobody knows exactly.

“I think we have good performance in the car, and if everything is working well, I hope we can fight for podiums from the start of the season.”

Team principal Eric Boullier added: “Last year we finished second with the help of the weather. I would love to do the same this year without any help.”

Boullier said Heidfeld had settled in well after taking over from the injured Robert Kubica at the team:

“I think he has settled in as well as we could have expected. The more he works with the team, the easier things become and he has already built a good relationship with everybody.”

Heidfeld expects to do at least four stints during the race: “I believe the tyres will have the biggest impact and will make the strategy quite exciting.

“I expect to see a lot more pit stops than in the past – at least three per race – and I believe the pit stop windows will be narrower. That’s because when the tyres degrade and lose performance, you have no choice but to pit, otherwise you lose too much time.”

2011 Australian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Australian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    50 comments on “Heidfeld aims to score podiums from start”

    1. I don’t see why he couldn’t get a podium.

      By the looks of it, as well as the new rules mixing things up, changeable weather will be on the cards. Quite frankly anyone could win!

      1. Even Karthikeyan?

        However great it’ll be to see mixed up grids and results I just don’t see it happening.

        1. he’s a fast runner you know

          1. Karthikeyan is only a fast runner because he spends so much time running from his totaled car to the side of the track!

          2. I think people give Narain way too much stick. He’s not the greatest driver by any means, but he isnt the worst either, there have quite a few drivers far worse off than him in the past. I think he will fare better that Yamamoto.

            My best wished to “Quick Nick”. I really hope he finally gets his maiden win, 11 years in the sport with no win is really sad, but he’s a good driver and lets hope for the best. Renault will do well this year, Nick should be on the podium regularly this year!

      2. It occurs to me that I keep reading that Macca is sand bagging, could it be that Renault are the real sand baggers?

        1. Who is Macca? McLaren? Does that BKK on your name refer to you living in Bangkok like me? If yes, then I would like to ask you where is the best place to go watch the race.

    2. Team principal Eric Boullier added: “Last year we finished second with the help of the weather.

      …and the help of one Mr. Robert Kubica.

      1. Kubica would have been nowhere near the podium if:

        a: Alonso, Schumacher et al hadn’t crashed at the start.

        b: the weather had been normal.

        I’m not saying he’s a bad driver, but you can’t attribute the result solely to him.

        1. Accidents happen in races, there’s no guarantee for anything. At the end of the day he got the podium for Renault. He drove the car well and avoided incidents.

          If’s and but’s are irrelevant to facts as they are not guaranteed.

        2. You cant exactly atribute it to the weather either. Plus the 2009 GP could have been Kubica’s as well – in that horrible BMW no less- if he and Vettel hadnt have come together.

          1. And there not been a million Safety Cars…(same applies to Hamilton’s thir…fourth place)

        3. Look at Monaco however. He finished 3rd, qualified and could have stayed second, over a couple of lovely dry days.

    3. You may get a podium mr Heidfield but not that elusive victory HAAHAAHAAA

      1. *cue dramatic James Bond score*

      2. I reckon he has plenty more chance of an F1 victory than you do.

        Some people do, some just comment, let’s make sure we don’t forget the proper hierarchy of these things.

        1. I think it was meant tongue-in-cheek. Lighten up. :)

    4. I would say podiums are gonna be tall order. Red Bull look fairly likely to occupy at least one of the podium positions, with Alonso taking the other. At the end of pre-season testing Mercedes looked to be within a couple of tenths of Ferrari, so it wouldnt be to hard to imagine one of their drivers tip toeing onto the podium.

      We also have to consider Mclaren as well, and whether they really have found a whole second by simplifying their car. Personally I find this hard to believe. Half a second perhaps, but not a full second. How can they be sure of this. They havent even tested it following the removal of said items (simulators are no substitute for the real world).

      So in essence, Heidfield is gonna have to drive his socks off to even sniff the podium. Renault will be stronger than last year, but I need to be convinced that they’re podium material for the early races.

      I guess all that remains to be said is roll on FP1 & FP2 on Friday, where we’ll hopefully get a clearer picture of where everyone is!

      1. Yeah, there are gonna be a lot of drivers hoping to make it on the podium. Can’t wait to see how it shakes out!

      2. Not forgetting Massa. Everyone forgets about him.

      3. He might have a chance when the RBRs crash into the Mclarens and Alonso gets stuck behind Massa.

        1. Or when he puts it on pole!

    5. Good luck with that.
      Then again, from his previous career one would be tended to believe he just might get the car on the podium with a bit of good fortune and solid running.

    6. Would be good to see Renault back towards the top of the order but until there is some proper competitive running on the weekend it’s really to hard to say, the usual suspects do seem to have the pace at the moment and heidfeld could be a little race rusty.

    7. Hope so, got an each-way on him for Melbourne! Nick seems a bit underrated by the bookies, in the past he’s been good at being on the right tyres and grabbing some good results.

    8. I really hope Renault does well

      But on the other hand, if it does too well, I wouldn’t be necessarily happy becuase Kubica would’ve missed a huge chance to challenge for the WDC

    9. Heidfeld can’t win (no pun intended). If he does well, people will moan that Kubica could have been champion. If he does badly, people will say Kubica would have got the job done.

      1. I’m afraid you are right Icthyes.
        Which gives me all the more reason to cheer for him this year. I hope he really makes the most of this opportunity and it sounds like so far he is.

        I do hope, hope, hope he gets a win though.

    10. As much as I am excited for the start of the season, it will still have a big Robert Kubica shaped gap missing.

      I get quite sad when I realise he won’t be there. But sometime soon he’ll be back, I really hope so.

      1. I second that.
        Hopefully he will be fit for 2012 or 13. I do really hope so.

      2. I remember Kimi fans bemoaning the Raikkonen-shaped hole that was supposed to be apparent in 2010.

        As much as Kubica should be there, absent for horrible reasons, I think unless you’re a fan his absence will not really be that apparent, not like Massa’s was in 2009.

        1. I think we all agree that Badoer filled that void perfectly though…

    11. Something which is very annoying is that people on some websites (not this one) are saying that because Kubica set the fastest time in Valencia, Renault were definately championship contenders. Therefore some people will think at the end of the year no matter what Heidfeld does ‘Kubica would have done better’, which is totally unreasonable. Poor heidfeld is in a lose-lose situation.

      1. I think Heidfeld also set a fastest time at a later test, but I agree it’s going to be hard for him. The best he can do is be consistent, thrash Petrov and hopefully get that much deserved win.

        1. I think this is the key point here. Regardless of whether he wins a race or not, he’s going to utterly thrash Petrov and show that he deserves to be in the sport. I also hope he wins and I think most people will be surprised how soon that might happen.

    12. I really am under the impression this year will see alot of different drivers on the podium for countless different reasons.

      I’d like to see Vitaly not far behind too.

      1. I think you are right, with the high degradation, increased importance of pit stops and the unreliability of the weather, I think anyone of the drivers from the top 5 or 6 teams will have a decent shot at a podium. Winning may well be confined to the teams who performed well in 2010, but I feel the sharp end of the grid will be a lot more fluid than it has been in seasons past.

    13. JamieFranklinF1
      22nd March 2011, 22:14

      I love how lots of people are saying that Red Bull and Ferrari will be at the front.

      Who’s to say that Renault and Mercedes haven’t overtaken them? Granted, it’s not the most likely thing, but they both could have very efficient cars.

    14. Anything Heidfeld does this season in my view is down to him and him alone. He is superbly reliable with no obvious weaknesses and full credit to him if he succeeds in podium finishes.

    15. Stop talking that Heidfeld is in a lose-lose situation. He will drive (probably) whole season in who knows maybe top team. That’s better than just sitting in home and watching race in TV thinking: “man, I could be there too… F1 is so unfair”

      Nick is a great and reliable driver so can make it in good car.

    16. The top two spot so far have been covered by Red Bull & Ferrari then for the third slot there is Renault, Mclaren & Mercedes.He have the skill now it’s the time to show it everything on track.

    17. UKfanatic (@)
      23rd March 2011, 6:10

      i think he was 2nd in melbourne 09 and malaysia

      1. It was Melbourne ’08 he was second. And Malaysia ’09.

    18. Heidfield on the top of the podium at least once would make 2011 a very memorable year for me. He deserves a win! And I feel the same about Rosberg, but that’s a different story.

    19. Heidfeld could be a dark horse title challenger, in my view. That car looks very neatly done: they have implemented a very complex and radical performance technology, without reliability problems and to great effect. And they have a very solid driver. Let’s not forget that last year, Kubica was coming on very strong late and looked even in for a win in Japan.

      Also sprach Zarathustra— Nick is not in a lose-lose. If the car is good and he kicks butt his star will rise. If the car is rubbish, and it won’t be, he can fairly say he was called in to wrangle a difficult car built for another guy and did his best. The only concern is getting eat by Petrov, and I don’t see that happening. Petrov has some speed still lacking some race-sense.

      1. Beat by Petrov. I don’t expect cannibalism to affect Heidfeld’s tenure at Renault.

    20. Heidfelds only fault is his reliability! He isn’t aggressive enough, isn’t taking enough chances, isn’t pushing the competitors into accidents he can’t avoid. That’s why he has a world record of most race finishes in a row. I hope he can be much more aggressive this year, take a few battles and a few DNF’s just to show he wants more than the reliability record.
      It is fine to try to stay out of trouble, but when he opens the door to someone comming from pitlane, he is not commanding the race, and they will drive around him because he yields, when pushed. Heidfeld must go in and take the battle from the first race, then I’ll cheer for him…But I’m afraid he doesn’t have the aggression in him. Renault should try openly to favorize Petrov just before a race, just to provoke Quick Nick to become aggressive, like Webber at Silverstone!

    21. as much as i like nick he seems to be rather optimistic pre season. I remember before the 2009 season he wasnt just going for his first win, he was going for the championship… didnt really work out too well

    Comments are closed.