Mercedes GP and Nick Heidfeld Part Ways

Mercedes GP confirmed that they have released Nick Heidfeld of his contract with the Stuttgart-based manufacturer for the remainder of the 2010 Formula One season. This way, the 33-year old driver will be free to join new F1 tire manufacturer Pirelli for their development programme this year.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Heidfeld will begin testing for Pirelli at Mugello – for two days, Tuesday and Wednesday – being also scheduled to continue his work with the Italian tire manufacturer in the forthcoming weeks at Jerez, Monza and Paul Ricard. During those sessions, he will drive a 2009-spec Toyota TF109 fitted with newly developed Pirelli compound.

Heidfeld has been a long-time driver of BMW Sauber F1 Team until last year, when the German manufacturer decided to leave the series. The German driver was unable to secure a racing spot elsewhere so he joined Mercedes GP as a test/reserve driver, while also being elected the new chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA). Today, his collaboration with Mercedes GP has ended officially.

We can confirm that the team is pleased to allow Nick Heidfeld the opportunity to join Pirelli and contribute to their development work for the company's imminent return to Formula 1,” said a statement from Mercedes GP.

Nick is an extremely experienced driver and we are confident that his racing knowledge and technical feedback will prove extremely useful to Pirelli and therefore of benefit to the sport as a whole. Nick has been a real asset to Mercedes GP Petronas since joining our team this year and we are pleased to see his career progressing.

Heidfeld also thanked his former team for allowing him to make this new step in his career, probably enthused by the fact that his new role with Pirelli will further boost his chances of joining the F1 roster next year.

First of all I would like to thank Ross Brawn, Norbert Haug and Nick Fry for allowing me the opportunity to become Pirelli's official test driver. The team has always said that they would not stand in my way if such a chance arose and they have kindly allowed me to take up this exciting new role,” said Heidfeld, who also became a father for the third time on Monday night.

I would like to thank everyone at Mercedes GP Petronas for the great cooperation that we have had this year. I have greatly enjoyed supporting the team in my position as Reserve Driver and have felt welcome right from the outset. It was impressive to have the opportunity to work with the current World Champions and I wish the team all the best for the remainder of the season and beyond.”
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