Boullier: Heidfeld “didn’t work” as team leader

F1 Fanatic round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Boullier criticises Heidfeld’s leadership and pace.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Heidfeld didn’t deliver says Renault boss (Autosport)

“His leadership didn’t work in the team and when you are sometimes slower than Vitaly, in fact most of the time slower than Vitaly, it is difficult for him to push the team and to settle himself as the team leader.”

Nick Heidfeld on Twitter

“I was surprised by the Team’s intention to replace me and regret that things have developed this way. I just wanted to be in the cockpit to get the best result for the team and me. I still have a clear contract and I want to drive. Finally, I would like to thank for all the support I have received in this matter from all over the world in these days.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne to get F1 chance with Toro Rosso (BBC)

“The Frenchman, 21, is expected to run in first practice sessions once he finishes his campaign in the Renault World Series.”

Silverstone leased… (Joe Saward)

“The word on the street is that Silverstone circuit has been leased for the next 100 years by the British Racing Drivers’ Club. The deal is believed to be worth in the region of $400 million.”

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

Comment of the day

Victor’s thoughts on the teams’ set-up choices this weekend:

It all comes down to whether one trusts the weather forecast. If race day is indeed dry then I’d go with Whitmarsh and run less angle. However, if we accept that this is Spa and it might snow on Sunday I’d take downforce over straight line speed – not only would one be able to qualify higher, but if it does drizzle one is better off.

Having said that, on balance I’d go for less angle. Spa is a track where overtaking is hardly a problem, especially so with a a car set up for top speed.

From the forum

Roald asks why modern F1 cars tend to have such high noses.

Tom Cruise

You may have noticed yesterday’s article including footage of Tom Cruise’s recent drive in a Red Bull F1 car was taken down.

This is because Red Bull have apparently revoked copyright permission for the footage to be used, resulting in the video being taken down from YouTube, where it was hosted. I understand some other sites who used the same footage have had the same problem.

Despite enquiries I have yet to receive an explanation from Red Bull why this has happened. I have obtained footage from them many times in the past and have never had any such problems.

Until Red Bull respond to my requests for an explanation I cannot say if or when the article will be restored. This is a shame, as it’s a good story for the promotion of Red Bull and Formula 1.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to vettelfan and Pemsell!

On this day in F1

Happy 35th birthday to Mark Webber!

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.

49 comments on “Boullier: Heidfeld “didn’t work” as team leader”

  1. I really wanted to watch that Tom Cruise video too! Think i’ll go on a hunt for it…

    100 year lease? Cool. 100 years always sounds like a number you pluck from thin air just for the sake of it sounding silly!

    1. It’s on youtube, posted by what I believe is redbull’s official channel.


      1. Just watched it on the RBR website, thanks anyway :)

        1. I’ll watch it later. As long as it’s there, good, but I don’t see the problem with sharing it on the web.

  2. What interest does Nick have in being a team leader anyway? He was drafted in at the last minute, he knows that, the team know that.

    Still can’t help but think this is a bit of a naive move from Renault.

    Points make prizes. Not qualification times.

    1. This. Everyone and their aunt knew Nick would be out if Kubica came back. And if Heidfeld doesn’t have what it takes to be team leader if Robert doesn’t return, how does Petrov? Even Boullier hints at doubts over Vitaly’s ability to lead a team.

      Oh and Happy Birthday Mark Webber and fellow fanatics!

      1. Renault seem to be expecting too much too soon. I think experience, or lack thereof probably saved Petrov (money may also have helped) from the sack…maybe they don’t expect as much from him.

        1. “Money may have saved Petrov” … great understatements of our time #153

          The Russian banks that held the note for the loan that Renault supplied for Genii to buy the team.

          The stories about non-payments of that sizable loan, delays in the schedule of Bahar payments, any haircut that will need to be taken on the Team Lotus chassis mess.

          Car development, starved of resource, has stalled badly, and relative performance deteriorated visibly.
          The cynical campaign, orchestrated in plain sight, by Genii management to berate and remove Heidfeld as fall-guy for a car/team going backwards has been pretty shabby and distasteful to witness.
          The spin weak and transparent. The requirement to move a pay driver into both race seats obvious.

        2. Something like that Andrew, they expected something from Heidfeld that was unlikely if you look at his record in F1, maybe that’s why Kubica advised Liuzzi, they wouldn’t expect the same from him …

          Anyway, what Gold Leaf says is harsh, but I couldn’t help nodding in agreement.

          1. pretty much my feeling as well there Andrew, Bosyber, Gold leaf and Icthyes

    2. Nick underperformed, end of story! Sure the Renault has not been the best car, but he is far from the best driver, why not bring Bruno and his money back into the team.

      1. Underperformed relative to what? As the old saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers…

        1. He barely performed on the same level as Petrov. That’s bad enough.

          1. He is ahead in points. Unless you think very poorly of Petrov, at this point in the season, points speak loudly. If performing only slightly better than Petrov is enough to get you fired, then that is a pretty withering criticism of Petrov, and direct acknowledgement that Petrov is in the seat purely due to the Russian paper.

            Bottom line is Renault went from being a podium contender end of last year, to a promising car in preseason, but to have a slow car that explodes into flames now and again. They should give Sam Michael a go. At least he knows F1. Genii and Boullier are running that team into the ground.

    3. Nick has a very ‘boring’ persona. I think it rubbed off on the team…

    4. He beat Petrov. If Petrov is good enough for them, so is Heidfeld.

  3. ‘appy birthday Marky mate! ‘ave a gooden!

  4. Button is generally slower than Hamilton, but compare their results. Same with Heidfeld and Petrov. I would have respected Boullier if he had admitted it’s do with the money Senna is bringing, but then again to admit that with the court appeal going on might be damaging. Better if he had said no details at all. I was always on the fence with Eric, but not now.

    1. When do team bosses ever admit it’s anything to do with money?

      I was off the fence with Boulier when he basically said I as a fan should welcome the good news of having to pay £40-£60 a month to watch F1.

      1. Well I think Williams admitted it, before quickly praising Maldonado and saying they could drop him next year and still keep the money. I guess that would be admitting that Renault aren’t even a second-tier team anymore though, bad PR.

        1. Ya Williams made a vague mention of it after everyone kept talking about it!

          Right, wouldn’t be great PR! Was wondering why Renault were criticizing Nick in public of late. Something that neither helps Nick or the team. But maybe it was because Renault knew what was coming with the Bruno money.

          So they wanted it to look as much as possible that Heidfeld was rubbish so people would be less likely to question other reasons for him losing his seat.

          1. And instead they look like bullies. Maybe bullies with a point, but bullies all the same. I wonder if Kubica even would want to return to this team, the assurances of their available funds and plan for the coming years are surely down the drain.

  5. For what it’s worth, the Tom Cruise video is up at

    1. It’s also on Tom Cruise’s web site — something I swear I would not normally know anything about! It’s just that the Red Bull Twitter account posted a link.

      1. Hmm, and it’s still hosted on YouTube on his site…

      2. You got to laugh when some one writes about stuff they haven’t a clue about.

        Coulthard not just an F1 legend but a Formula 1 great.

        1. Haha, I didn’t even stick around long enough to read any of the text on the page!

          1. Haha missed that one

        2. Go back and read it! really funny how they big up DC and Tom’s run in the car!

          1. DC is an “F1 champ” as well!

        3. The text is great, so much pumped up hyperbole, gorgeous thing. Almost on par with the horse whisperer, except more lucid and less amusing rant :)

    2. Interesting by they way they say “hitting 181 mph, 4 mph under DC” – neither them, nor Red Bull say anything about lap time.

      Hitting the top speed on a straight says something about how much you are able and willing to step on the throttle and full out. Not unimportant, for sure as the breaking afterwards must be shocking.

      However, it’s not where the F1 car truly shines, that’s in the cornering, or as Geof Willis said on BBC 5live yesterday, the turn in is the big point.

      They could have done with comparing the G forces from the heli-roll with those from the cornering.

      1. Yes totally agree, it is interesting they never released the track time!

        The thing about Coulthard though, he is actually very modest on BBC putting himself down as if he wasn’t that good a driver.

        I would rather he didn’t do it as he was very good(not a F1 great or legend) and wouldn’t want some new fan watching thinking he was some bum who only drove a couple races!

  6. Do they want Bruno to lead the team? Well no wonder Lotus are doing so badly.

  7. “Button is generally slower than
    Hamilton, but compare their results.”

    But hamilton has more points?

  8. Will Buxton’s article on helmet design the other day was a really popular one. Now I’ve found a video to go with it:

    It’s from Schuberth, about how Michael Schumacher’s gold-leaf Spa helmet was made.

    1. It was posted yesterday somewhere and yeah, it looks wonderful!

  9. I’m fully supporting Heidfeld here. He might not be the best “team leader” out there but he’s definetly better than every other driver available at the moment, INCLUDING Vitaly Petrov.

    The fact that Nick usually outraces Petrov shows he’s a much more consistent pair of hands, and that’s exactly what Renault needs at the moment to avoid being overtaken by Force India and Sauber.

    Shame they don’t realize that. I truly belive there’s another reason to sack Nick, not just “lack of pace and no team leader”.

  10. Nick had a descend year but I don’t think Senna will do any good a job then him in the middle of the season.

    1. Hah, nice one – his year and that of the team clearly have descended from those early podiums to just barely fighting for points, but while his qualifying hasn’t impressed, which didn’t help early in the year, their current lack of pace means that for points they’d need his consistency much more in the races.

      Unless they have already given up on this year, that is.

  11. so does this mean Petrov is Team Leader?

    1. Seems that way. Given how easily Renault just dumped Nick Heidfeld I doubt Vitaly really wants that honour at the moment!

  12. Does anybody know why the BBC hasn’t put up the practice sessions yet on the iplayer? Or is it just me noticing this? (I’m in America and use a proxy server to watch the BBC)

    1. Anyone not tell you that you’ll have to pay now….? ;-)

  13. Yes, Heidfeld is just an ordinary driver, nothing special. Also for Petrov. He seemed to be a sensational driver in the begining, however, it turned out to be perhaps a good driver but not an ace. None of them was able to outperform their car, to push the car into the right direction.
    Now they try with Bruno, but I think this will be another failure.

  14. Poor nick. :(

  15. Nick has had his chances I believe. However I think he has improved above his normal level this season, because he has succeeded in a few DNF’s due to accidents caused by being more aggressive and pushing than the old Nick used to be, when he was Mr. reliable, over cautious and able to sneak up to a good result, when others had misfortunes.
    His lack of aggressiveness caused him a lot of problems with heating the tires, when he and Robert drove for BMW Sauber. Robert complained that the team used too many resources trying to solve Nicks problems, which could have been used improving Roberts possibilities.
    I’m sure Bruno will not be able to do it much better, unless the money his sponsors put in, enable the team to develop the car further. But I would look forward to a positive surprise from Bruno.

  16. another thought to the Heidfeld-saga: I think we generally agree that this substitution was rather about financial issues than performance issues. I think we also agree, that this years Renault car is “sub-optimal”. Now, let’s, play with the thought, that Kubica isn’t injured, and able to drive for the team from the beginning of this season: would have outqualified Petrov for sure (that’s what Boullier tries to emphasis), maybe could have collected a few points more, but given the limitations of the car, I would say maximally +10%, which is not that significant. However, in this case Renault still would have financial issues, but who could you fire to let Senna and his sponsor money in? You won’t fire Kubica, noone would. You can’t fire Petrov, as practically he is the man with the deep pockets. So now what…?

  17. To Andrew T: Good question, but maybe the performance with Robert in one car would have been that much better to attract more sponsor money to keep development going at desired rate. Maybe Renault would have been able to keep up – just maybe. Robert – above all – was able to get much more out of that car, that it nominally was up to, more than 10% I would say. Given the best car he could have become champion, but now I fear he will never come back.
    Maybee Renault should go for Tom Cruise instead of Bruno – backed by money from Scientology and with Scientology training for all of the teams employees maybee they could go back to the old winning “Days of Thunder”;-)
    Look to for hilarious comments on this issue.

Comments are closed.