Renault is expected to announce on Monday that Nick Heidfeld has been selected as injured Robert Kubica’s replacement for the start of the 2011 season.
Injured Pole Kubica will be recovering from injuries suffered in a rally crash for months at least, and his former BMW teammate Heidfeld impressed the Lotus-sponsored team during his audition for the seat at Jerez at the weekend.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, team boss Eric Boullier will decide on Monday whether to stick with the 33-year-old or test Pedro de la Rosa or Vitantonio Liuzzi in Barcelona.
“I have the feeling I have passed this test. I could do no more than my best,” said Heidfeld, even though he played down the significance of topping the timesheet.
“Anyone can do that if they really want to, with little fuel and super soft tyres,” added the German.
He admitted that, after negotiating for the 2011 Mercedes test seat or a switch to DTM, benefitting from the ill fortune of a friend is a “funny feeling”.
“You know very well that someone’s bad luck might turn out well for you,” said Heidfeld, “and obviously I’d like to come back in different circumstances.
“But it’s a chance and you have to use it,” he insisted.
“I’ve sent Robert a text message and I will visit him in hospital, but I am hearing that his condition is improving every day.
“You can tell he is very popular here and is the clear number one. I hope he can come back as fast as possible.
“By the way, it was Renault who called me and not the other way around,” Heidfeld said.
One of his tasks for this week is to apply for the renewal of his super license.
“Before, it was not high on my agenda!” he laughed.
Force India driver Adrian Sutil thinks Heidfeld is the best man for the job.
“He is experienced and in the past he drove against Kubica on the same level. Robert was the number one (at Renault) and now Renault need a new one,” he told spox.com.
De la Rosa told Catalan television TV3 that Heidfeld “is in pole position” for Kubica’s seat.
“I talked a little with Pedro de la Rosa,” Boullier admitted, “but after the evaluation with Nick Heidfeld we’ll see if we need to go further with those discussions or not.”
© RIF | GMM