Heidfeld launches legal action against Renault

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Nick Heidfeld begins legal proceedings against Renault after losing his seat.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Senna confirmed for next two races only (Reuters)

Nick Heidfeld: “I can’t tell you a lot. the main hearing will be in about three weeks and we will have a decision then and my position is that I have a valid contract and I want to drive.”

Toro Rosso at Misano (F1 Fanatic on YouTube)

Edited by Dan Selby

Throttle control key for Cosworth (FT, registration required)

Tim Routsis on what happens to an F1 engine after it’s been used: “We melt the parts down in a furnace. In this way we get rid of any indications of how the engine was made.”

Schumacher und Vettel feiern 50. Geburtstag des Kart-Clup Kerpen 2011 (YouTube)

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel karting on Wednesday, including some great archive footage of Schumacher handing a trophy to a young Vettel:

Montezemolo in Maranello: “Thank you Michael and very best wishes!” (Ferrari)

“Michael was and will always be one of the most important figures in the history of Ferrari and he will always be in the hearts of all the men and women who work in Maranello and of all fans of the Prancing Horse.”

F1 2011 – your Twitter questions answered (YouTube)

Webber: Vettel dominance now over (Autosport)

“I think that’s over, in terms of having five, six or seven victories on the bounce. I think that is not going to happen. I think it will be more spread out.”

Hamilton targets Spa improvements (BBC)

“I wasn’t at the top of my game in the last race, and I want to make sure I’m at my best and the team are working towards being at their best so we can destroy the field.”

Belgian GP – Conference 1 (FIA)

Sebastian Vettel: “It is not our favourite circuit as there are a lot of straights here, more than on most of the other tracks. There are some corners but they are all in sector two, so sector one and three is quite difficult.”

Patrick takes stock in her career move to NASCAR (NASCAR)

“Sitting alongside Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of GoDaddy, Patrick made it official Thursday: She will run the entire Nationwide Series schedule next season for JR Motorsports. In addition, she’ll compete in between eight and 10 Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart-Haas Racing.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

PT longs for F1 cars that look as good as the one Schumacher made his F1 debut in:

A wider track and low nose definitely make a car more attractive. In fact, aesthetically, F1 design has taken a downturn since 1993.

The green paint job on the Jordan 191 is just awesome (the Arrows was always a good looker and it had a lot to do with the orange colour), but picture the 191 with thin tyres, narrower track and high nose – it will look downright ugly, to say the least.

From the forum

Raymondu999 wonders if Robert Kubica will drive for Renault in 2012?

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

The non-championship Caen Grand Prix was cancelled in 1955 following the Le Mans Disaster.

But the race returned in 1956 and was held 55 years ago today on the French parkland circuit.

Roy Salvadori took the lead at the start in his Maserati 250F but on lap 31 a rainstorm hit the circuit. Salvadori spun and stalled, letting Harry Schell, also driving a Maserati, into the lead.

Schell won ahead of Andre Simon at the wheel of a Gordini, followed by Salvadori who recovered after push-starting his car.

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...

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72 comments on “Heidfeld launches legal action against Renault”

  1. I guess Danica got tired of being beat on street courses.

    By the way the first link tries to take me to an editing page, blocked of course as I don’t have the privileges!

    1. same for me on the first link.

      Danica, I think it was just time to go on. In NASCAR she can be the star, earn big money for the next years.
      In IndyCar she was long going without turning out to be really a top class driver, just a good midfield driver with the occasional win, so the shine was off her.

    2. For all the fuss made over her, taking a quick look down her results table on her wikipedia page, it seems as if she’d only ever won one race in her entire career, and that was the 2008 IndyCar race on the Motegi oval… and her best end-of-year placing was 3rd in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship, the year before she stepped up to IndyCar.

      But then I guess there are plenty of midfield drivers in various series around the world who have never won a championship at any level. I guess we can’t have a world full of champion drivers, there have to be midfield and backmarkers somewhere.

      But for a driver in a top-of-the-food-chain race series to have only ever won one race in their entire career, and even then not until her 4th season in that series… that must be a very rare occurrence.

      Having said all that, I suppose she’s still the best performing female driver in the world currently, and for a midfield runner, she races fairly well.

      1. I find it hard to believe Danica Patrick is the best performing female driver in the world currently. Someone help us out and name someone else please.

        1. streetfightingman
          26th August 2011, 17:45

          I think what he meant to say was “She’s the best looking female driver in the world currently.”

        2. I’ve been watching IndyCar this season.

          Simona Di-Silvestro has been looking pretty strong!

          Pippa Mann is a rookie coming through also

  2. aww nick is getting vewy angwy that he has been dwopped :(

    1. now that is just a lame comment. what would you do if you were in his place and were shown such ‘respect’?

      1. I suppose it depends what is in his contract. He was drafted in at the last minute, and if his contract says that it is up to Renault whether he drives or not, then he is making a fuss, otherwise it is fair action. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dispute had no grounding, and if so he is perhaps being whiny.

        1. From the few pieces i read about it, it seems Renault wanted to drop him immediately, without paying any further salary (probably referring to performance clauses). Heidfeld disputes that they were able to enact that, but it seems to be primarily a matter of money.

          Good luck Nick with the court battle i would say.

        2. I think he was dumped because he didn’t meet expectations. But I understand his move anyway.

          1. What expectations did they have? Their number one driver was in a serious, career threatening accident.

          2. I think in fairness there wasn’t much more Nick could have done given the package he was in. If Renault had simply replaced him with another salaried driver then there would be a legitimate perception to it being a performance issue. However given that they have effectively sold the seat to a sponsored driver I do think Nick probably has a fair claim against them.

            P.S Keith, the link to the article takes me to an editing page as well!!!

      2. Be a man n Nick, turning to the courts is a sure fire way to never race for the team again and I doubt you would have anyway. Stop the legal crap before you become a Piquet Junior. Maybe there is a chance at another bottom of the wrung team or you could truck race in America.

        1. That’s a bit much. In fact, that’s taking it way, way too far. No way can you compare a driver who may have an entirely reasonably grievance about being fired, with one who conspired to fix the result of a race by crashing, then only came clean about it once one of his co-conspirators screwed him over.

    2. Yes! But I support him. He’s done a job like Petrov’s, why are they dumping Heidfeld and not Petrov? Because Vitaly has more money. I don’t like drivers being dropped for money.

  3. will the team really want to back up a guy who is sueing them to drive for them?

    1. No they will probably just try set his car on fire at a pit stop.

      Wait… didn’t that already happen!

  4. So you know, I’m getting an error message on the first article saying “you are not allowed to edit this item” after being asked to sign in.

    1. Yup, broken link for me too

  5. looks like the end of the road for both patrick and quick nick.

    1. Patrick has had her chances in the IndyCars, and now she expects to compete in a series that is much more competitive and has better drivers. She’ll do well in the Nationwide series, but he adventure into Cup is going to be the toughest adventure for her. She is still only 30, but the best Cup drivers have been in Cup since their early 20s.

      1. we really shouldn’t complain, at least it’s keeping her out of F1!

        1. Even when USF1 existed, there was nothing substantial linking Danica Patrick to Formula 1.

      2. Excellent point you make about NASCAR drivers being better than Indy drivers. It’s something I’ve never thought to compare. @ 30 she should resign to her fate and take up knitting.

      3. Perhaps she’ll be better at NASCAR. The style is a little different. And as was pointed out in the article, she has generally done better on oval than road course.

        1. At least in NASCAR she will be able to drive for another ten years whether she is any good or not. Her name alone will keep her in a seat even if she continues to be pretend racer. She is nice to look at though…

          1. exactly this is a very good reason for her to move on to NASCAR.

  6. Suing a team to keep a driver going. Is that a first? Regardless, I hope Nick wins. I want to see Bruno racing, but I also dont like how Nick has been treated.

    Also, is Nick being paid to drive for Renault, paying to drive, or just driving but keeping all sponsership he raises? Such an interesting situation.

    1. BAR did sort of the opposite with Button to prevent him from going to Williams. He’s hardly going to get a contract extension though, whether he wins or not. I suppose he wasn’t going to get one anyway, so he may as well try.

    2. Suing a team to keep a driver going. Is that a first? Regardless, I hope Nick wins.

      It’s more likely that Renault will pay Heidfeld to vacate the seat. I can’t imagine it would be pleseant to be in a team where Heidfeld had to launch legal action to stay in his seat, considering the team doesn’t want him anymore.

      1. I agree, the court battle will most probably be over how much if any money should be going Nicks way.

        1. But will Nick accept money to just go away? Surely as a long time fairly successful F1 driver money isn’t an issue. I suspect his motivation is wanting to continue to drive in F1. In which case, I doubt Renault would (or could) offer him enough to change his mind.

          1. “But will Nick accept money to just go away?”

            Quite possibly, yes.

            Heidfeld isn’t daft. He won’t be under any illusions that forcing a team to allow him to drive for them isn’t going to do anyone an awful lot of good. He’s at, or coming to, the end of his F1 career and he wants to be bought out of his contract. Even if he doesn’t want to continue with Renault he needs to say he does to give himself the strongest possible case.

            The obvious parallel is Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari – Kimi was happy enough to leave F1 altogether but Ferrari still had to pay him millions of dollars not to drive for them.

          2. But will Nick accept money to just go away?

            What’s the alternative? To be in a team that doesn’t want him there, and make no secret of it? The courts could force Renault to honour Heidfeld’s contract until the end of the season – but they cannot force the tem to like having Heidfeld there. And if there is such animosity between Renault management and Heidfeld, it could make the last few races of the season very difficult for Heidfeld.

          3. also surely in every drivers contract it must say, ‘we have the right to replace you at any stage with ie: our test driver’

            esp one coming is a replacement anyway.

            i feel sorry nick and dont think he should of been dropped, certainly not for bruno. But i dont see how he can force them to let him drive.

            he might have a case for money owed to him and employement for rest of season. But it would just mean he would have to go to every race as a renault driver who happens to not be driving, like senna has had to at previous races.

          4. I’d do the same as Nick… take them to court. He’s on the inside of this team and knows a lot more than we do of this situation.

            On the bright side… It will give Bruno the chance to prove to the world that he has no place in F1 as a driver, even in a semi competitive team.

  7. I can’t see this ending well for Heidfeld. The last time a driver launched legal action against a team was Andy Soucek getting the Coloni cars impounded (even though his dispute was with Fisichella management, who had long since left the team). Nobody wanted anything to do with him after that, and Soucek was left wondering why he couldn’t get a race seat in Formula 1.

    1. That was a thought I had earlier. I don’t think teams like it when a driver sues/argues against a team regardless if its their own. Teams seem to want drivers to be very quiet about unfair matters. Sometimes I think that the fact that Piquet revealed the crashgate scandal to the media played a part in him not getting a drive.

      1. I disagree. I think teams want to be able to resolve issues internally. Getting the courts involved is just poor form – the last thing anyone wants is a driver in a team where tensions are running thick and fast because the driver got an injunction forcing the team to let him drive.

        The reason hy nobody liked Soucek’s move was because his issue was with the management of Fisichella Motorsport. But by the time he got around to impounding the cars, FMS and Coloni had already gone their separate ways. so Soucek was really punishing Coloni for someone else’s decision. It didn’t help that he then spent the weekend campaigning for a Formula 1 seat – or that his was attitude suggested that he expected a top-line drive or 2010.

        1. In this case, I understand the team would have wanted to part without paying any further money to Heidfeld. So its only fair for him to have a go at making them pay for cancelling early.
          And its not as if Heidfeld is at the start of his career, like Soucek was. I doubt it will change much of his prospects for future drives in F1 (or DTM)

        2. So should F1 drivers refuse to stand up for what was promised in their contracts for the fear that it will destroy their F1 careers.

          A team wants to do what is best best for the team, a driver should have that option as well.

    2. Didn’t Piquet threaten legal action against Renaul in 2009 also? (or perhaps initiate legal action). Perhaps it’s a Renault thing. And indeed, that didn’t end well for him either…

      1. He did, but I’m not counting it because Piquet’s reasons for going to court were totally selfish. He was willing to keep quiet about the race fixing if Renault gave him another season to race.

      2. And there’s the case of GP2driver Giedo van der Garde, who sued Spyker / Force India. He paid 3 million for 6000 testing kilometres at Spyker, but got only 2270 kms. So in the end the judges awarded him with 1,8 million.

        But when he won his case, the team was now Force India and the story doesn’t tell if the money really was paid. So there might be some developments after this season…

        1. I think I remember Mallya having to pay up. Even if it went as far as courts actually blocking some of his accounts before he did so.

  8. Keith, I can’t thank you enough…. I love this site so much. Mega stuff

  9. pity nick but f1 is business bro..

    1. Yep, and in business you can break a contract and expect to get away with it… wait a second…

  10. Regard Renault/Senna/Heidfeld issue, the guys from F1 Slate have produced the best post so far.

    Some pieces:

    Heidfeld prepared to sue Renault

    Rumours abound that Renault want to axe Heidfeld and hand the driving duties to Bruno Senna at the Belgian Grand Prix.

    [Some Drivers comments]

    Go for it Nick, great way to thank the guys who gave you a final lifeline in F1.

    I heard they were thinking of putting Senna in the car instead.

    I’m afraid you heard wrong Nando. I love McLaren, I’m under contract, so I’m going nowhere.

    Well Hamilton, I was referring to Bruno Senna, the late champion’s nephew.

    The guy’s an impostor Nando. If he is Senna, then I have to be someone else, and then you can’t be Prost, and Vettel can’t be Mansell. It’s just too mental. Remember, Yellow helmet plus McLaren = ??

    It is one of funniest F1 sites ever.

    LINK: http://www.thef1slate.com/thread/110824

  11. Way to tarnish your name in the sport quick nick! (well evidently youre not that quick anymore)

    Renault obviously told Nick his contract was not fixed coz they thought Kubica would come back anytime.
    After persuing legal action, now, even an HRT drive for 2012 would be a dream come true for ‘quick nick’

    1. (well evidently youre not that quick anymore)

      Personally, I don’t think he ever was.

      1. He’s been as quick or quicker than pet whom I know that you dearly love.

        1. Well that’s worrying in of itself, that a veteran of a decade should be matching the performance of a green driver in F1 for 1 year. :P

          Either way, I was never a fan of Nick and I’m glad he’s out (and I have a feeling Robert Kubica wouldn’t mind the news…)

  12. Hm, maybe its me, but Keith, I get this

    You are not allowed to edit this item.

    when I follow the first link, the one meant to go to the Reuters article.
    The link says this – https://www.racefans.net/wp-admin/post.php?post=49882&action=edit

  13. Regardin’ Nick and his complaints. When you complain about people who hired you it’s a POINT OF NO RETURN…

    You get nowhere, end get nothing but loose your peace instead.

  14. I haven’t read the Heidfeld article but why would you want to drive for a team that don’t wait you. The tension would he rife.

    Plenty of videos today. Will watch them later.

    1. The management don’t want him. His mechanics etc might actually be very happy to have him back.

    2. Look if Kubica didn’t get hurt Heidfeld would have been out of F1 anyway. He had a large number of races to prove himself and he simply didn’t. Sorry Nick time to retire again.

  15. That’s the way to keep your seat! with style! Ask for advice to Nelsinho Piquet!
    This guy is crazy! he just finished his career FOREVER!

  16. That article about Cosworth is very interesting. Especially when you think about it in relation to the recent hires by PURE.

  17. http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/lotus-and-lotus/

    Awwwww. “Loyal West Ham Fan” sold out again. Glad to have this madness over.

    1. I still think he should call it Team Loftus, to promote QPR and wind up the Lotus group a bit more.

  18. Hiedfeldt is just a lucky bra* cos he was lucky just to get that seat!!!

  19. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    26th August 2011, 17:22

    That legal isue will definitely not help Heidfield to get his seat back. He wants to stay but obviously Renault has Senna under contract so I don’t really think Nick can get a seat, at least for the rest of 2011

  20. Re: Mr Heidfeld’s court case:

    There once was a driver named Nick
    Who really believed he was quick
    Until Bouiller the boss at Renault
    Said: “It’s high time for you, Nick, to go.”
    And Nick was quite quick being a d… olt.

  21. I dont know why heidfeld complains, when bruno was under contract as 3er driver, he should have been the one to drive, they brought in nick and gave him the seat, bruno didnt say a word

  22. I just read this autosport interview with Boullier, confirming my thoughts about the team and Heidfeld: he is being treated badly, but it makes sense for the team to try something else, and the team are asses to people they don’t want any more.

    Heidfeld does lack quali pace, even though he is able to claw back and better it in the race, last year they had someone who could do both. Also, the team aren’t getting their car right, they don’t have direction (it seems they really thought he would help them get some, silly guys!). And then there is next year, and preparing for that, which means a need to get Senna some time to be evaluated, and possibly later be swapped for Grosjan in a few races (try that with our Nick …).

    I have to say that interview confirms to me that Bahar and this team’s management seem made for each other, having unrealistic expectations and blaming problems it on someone else, with a big, bullying, confidence.

    1. confirms to me that Bahar and this team’s management seem made for each other, having unrealistic expectations and blaming problems it on someone else, with a big, bullying, confidence

      Hard not to agree with that!

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