Mercedes in no hurry to sign reserve driver

Norbert Haug

Jan.6 (GMM) Mercedes GP is not in a rush to appoint a test and reserve driver for the forthcoming 2010 season, the marque’s competition director Norbert Haug insists.

It has been reported that German veteran Nick Heidfeld, albeit still an outside chance for the Renault race seat, has been offered the Mercedes reserve role.

Haug told the SID news agency that while the Stuttgart marque has retained contact with Heidfeld throughout his ten-year grand prix career, “no agreements” for 2010 have been penned.

But he admitted that he has “rated Nick and his abilities” throughout the 32-year-old’s racing career, dating back to before his F3000 championship, Le Mans, and McLaren test driving duties (all 1999), and all with Mercedes backing.

Haug, however, took issue with German reports that suggest Mercedes is looking to appoint a potential “substitute” for the 41-year-old Schumacher.

“Like every other formula one team, we want a test and reserve driver,” he insisted. “We do not feel under any time pressure to make a decision.”