Mercedes confirms Heidfeld as reserve driver

Nick Heidfeld apppointed Mercedes GP reserve driver

Feb.4 (GMM) Mercedes GP on Thursday confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will be the team’s test and reserve driver in 2010. The move is a something of a demotion for Heidfeld who started racing his F1 career in 2000. He was also being touted for the race seat at Mercedes until Michael Schmuacher made his comeback.

Nick Heidfeld was part of the now defunct BMW Sauber team

The 32-year-old German, who has consecutively contested 169 grands prix since his 2000 debut with Prost, had hoped for the race seat prior to Michael Schumacher’s decision to return to F1. Thursday’s announcement means that the entire Mercedes lineup for this season is German.

“Whilst I would of course have preferred a seat as an active driver, I am really proud to be part of the new Silver Arrows team,” Heidfeld said.

Mercedes Statement

Nick began his Formula One career with the Prost team in 2000 and since then has participated in 167 Grands Prix driving for Sauber (2001-2003), Jordan (2004), Williams (2005) and BMW Sauber (2006-2009). He had his best Formula One season in 2007 when he finished in fifth position in the World Championship. To date in his Formula One career, Nick has achieved 12 podiums.

Nick Heidfeld celebrates his fiftieth GP start with Peter Sauber in 2002

Nick Heidfeld: “I am very pleased to be joining the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team. It’s the team which has attracted the most interest in the close season, not only because of the comeback of Michael Schumacher, but also because this season sees the return of the Silver Arrows cars as a Mercedes-Benz works team for the first time in over fifty years. Whilst I would of course have preferred a seat as an active driver, I am really proud to be part of the new Silver Arrows team. I have seen how committed everyone at the team is and I feel the same. I will be doing my very best to support Michael and Nico this year.”

Ross Brawn, Team Principal:
“It’s a great pleasure for us to have signed a driver of the calibre and experience of Nick Heidfeld as our Reserve Race Driver and Test Driver for the 2010 season. Nick has over ten years of experience in Formula One working with established teams and he will be a great asset to Mercedes GP Petronas. I am confident that his input into the development of our MGP W01 car will be invaluable. We look forward to welcoming Nick to Mercedes GP Petronas and working closely with him.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “To sign Nick Heidfeld as Reserve Race Driver and Test Driver for Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team means another re-enforcement for our team. We have known each other for many years and Nick was supported by our junior drivers programme from 1997. During his 10 years in Formula One, circumstances often made it difficult for him to achieve his breakthrough. However Nick is extremely capable, he will be an asset to our team and he’ll show this.”