Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld launch the BMW Sauber F1.09
A fast-paced world like Formula One can't afford to sit still, even when one of their own is down. So while Robert Kubica recovers in hospital, his Lotus Renault GP team is facing the tough decision of what to do in the meantime. Kubica's not expected to recover until halfway through the season at best, so they'll need someone to fill in until then.
Previous reports linked Tonio Liuzzi and Nico Hulkenberg – both of who lost their race seats this season – as potential candidates to take Kubica's place, but the team itself has just confirmed that Nick Heidfeld is to drive the new R31 at the upcoming Jerez test in Spain.
Heidfeld is a German driver who's been in F1 since 1998, driving for such teams as McLaren, Prost, Jordan and Williams. He drove alongside Kubica for four seasons at BMW Sauber from 2006 through 2009. Last season he was contracted to Mercedes GP as a test driver, but was released when Sauber needed a replacement for Pedro de la Rosa. Could he fill the same role for Renault, or will the team promote one of its test drivers to the hot seat instead? Follow the jump for the official statement.
[Source: Lotus Renault GP]
Jerez Test Driver Line-Up
Lotus Renault GP has revised its driver line-up for this week's test session in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
Vitaly will drive the R31 on Thursday and Friday, as originally scheduled. For Saturday and Sunday, the team will give mileage to Bruno Senna and will also evaluate Nick Heidfeld, who is a potential replacement for Robert Kubica as a race driver. The exact running order for the weekend will be confirmed on Friday evening.