2011 F1 Drive Not Secured for Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld may have returned to Formula One racing for the closing stages of the 2010 season, but the German driver will not be guaranteed a spot in the BMW Sauber-Ferrari roster for the upcoming campaign. At least that's what team owner Peter Sauber hinted in a recent interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung, saying that the drivers lineup for 2011 is not a done deal already.

The driver situation for next year, I don't wish to speak about. It's completely open. At the moment we are concentrating on working with Nick,” said Sauber who, at the same time, admitted that Kamui Kobayashi will remain at Hinwil for at least one more season.

This means that Heidfeld's return to F1 for a full season is on the line in the upcoming 5 races, in which he has to prove Sauber that he's worthy of a second shot with the Swiss squad. In fact, this is exactly what he is expected of him for the final 5 grands prix of 2010, as the team needs to evaluate the true potential of their car. And, considering that Kobayashi is at his first full season in F1, an experienced driver like Heidfeld should push the C29 challenger to its limits.

Viewed with some distance, the two (Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa) were on a similar level; in qualifying they were 7:7. And that's our problem. We were finding it difficult to know how good this car really is,” added Sauber, explaining his decision to replace De la Rosa before the Singapore Grand Prix.

As for Heidfeld, he also admitted that his part-time job with BMW Sauber Ferrari for the 2010 season might not get him a full-time seat next year, but will certainly help in his efforts to convince other teams, not necessarily his current employer, that he deserves a shot at F1 comeback.

I do think it's going to help in the negotiations for 2011,” said 33-year old Heidfeld. “Both sides are still open, and there are other interested parties,” added the German driver in an interview with the SID news agency.
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