Heidfeld Impresses Renault at Jerez

Renault have given both Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna a chance to prove themselves inside the R31 cockpit last weekend, and if one more proof was needed to make it an easy decision for team principal Eric Boullier on determining who Robert Kubica's replacement will be in 2011, that was probably it.

The German driver topped the timing reports on Saturday and impressed the whole team (and the paddock, we might add) and will almost certainly be confirmed by Renault for their vacancy in 2011.

Our first feelings are very positive,” said Boullier in Jerez, admitting excitement over Heidfeld's performance. “He worked well with the team, gave good feedback and improved the car during the day.

However, without making any predictions for the neat future, Boullier insisted that the German's quick lap times on Saturday were mostly the result of some positive early feedback from Kubica and Vitaly Petrov.

We managed to cover 86 laps and the times are encouraging, which is also thanks to Robert and Vitaly's early feedback and the hard work of everybody in the team,” added the Frenchman.

Following Bruno Senna's performance on Sunday – he only managed the 5th best time of the day in his first track time at the wheel of the R31 – it's rather clear who between those two will have the most chances of replacing Kubica. Senna himself admitted that the team would be right to want experience and insisted the Jerez weekend was no shootout, but a chance for him to get acquainted with the 2011-spec car.

It wasn't a trial,” said the Renault reserve driver. “In unfortunate circumstances I was given a great opportunity to drive the car and do some work for the team. Considering that I've only been here for three weeks, it's a great shot for getting some experience with the car and the team. The team knows what they need and it's up to them what they do.”

According to reports, the Lotus-backed Renault team will evaluate Vitantonio Liuzzi during the upcoming test, in Barcelona, before probably making a final decision in late February.
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