• Feb 10, 2011
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]
Show full PR text

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.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 2 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's no question, Lotus has a difficult decision to make, especially when you consider, none of their options are *anywhere* as good as Kubica. Perhaps the only thing they can do now is look for a driver who can aid in the development, and setup of the car to the point that, should Kubica be able to return mid season, it will make for an easier transition. Imagine the frustration that must be felt by both Robert and the team when you consider how competitive the car appears to be so far and the lost potential due to this unfortunate situation.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Doesn't say much for your current test drivers squad if you are looking outside them for help. If you thought so much of Heidfeld originally you should have hired him back then.

      Of the drivers they currently have, to me, Hulkenberg showed the most promise. That's why it surprised me when they named Senna third driver and Hulkenberg a test driver.