Heidfeld becomes Mercedes Test Driver

Ex-BMW driver Nick Heidfeld has joined the Mercedes F1 Team, as the official test driver.

Nick Heidfeld in 2008 (Photo: Mark McArdle)

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will undoubtedly get the lion’s share of pre-season testing, and current F1 regulations prohibit F1 testing during the season. Nick will therefore use the team’s simulator, but some might question why Nick joined the team, as he will get very little track time. If you look at it from another angle, it was a smart move. I would be very surprised if Nico Rosberg didn’t deliver the goods this year. This is the first time he has had truly competitive machinery at his disposal, and I’m sure he will make the most of it … not that I’m expecting him to win the title! Michael is tipped to challenge for this year’s Championship, and it would be a very brave man to doubt Michael’s ability and renewed hunger.

Nick could be in line for a drive with Mercedes in 2011, or even sooner. Anything can happen in F1, especially during a fiercely competitive season. Michael’s performances could be slower than anyone was expecting, or a heavy shunt could make him think twice about driving at the age of 41. A recurrence of his neck injury could halt his driving mid-season, and therefore Heidfeld could replace him, in which case a 2011 drive is almost guaranteed. Should Rosberg fail to deliver, Heidfeld could be drafted in at short notice …..

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