Heidfeld Top Choice To Replace Kubica
JEREZ, Spain — It makes sense for Renault to hire the veteran Nick Heidfeld to sub for the injured Robert Kubica even if it rather makes a mockery of the team’s reserve/test driver scheme.
Renault announced it had signed a total of five youngsters for the program, but rightly didn’t consider any of them.
“If this had happened in the middle of the season, then the car would have been developed, and you could give a young driver some miles to educate him in F-1,” Renault’s Eric Boullier told F-1 media outlets including National Speed Sport News at the F-1 test at Spain’s Jerez track. “But we have to develop this car from scratch, so the obvious choice of driver is an experienced one. We need someone to drive the team forwards. With the new tires, KERS and the adjustable rear wing, there are many things going on in the car. So for that you need experience as well.”
At the moment there are only three experienced free agent F-1 drivers: Pedro de la Rosa, Tonio Liuzzi and Heidfeld, and the latter has the best combination of speed, talent and car developing skills.
Basically, the only way Renault would not offer the job to Heidfeld would have been if he did anything stupid during his day of testing the new R31. Predictably, he did a solid job and gave the team plenty of feedback on the car along with setting the quickest time of the day. He did all that while getting used to a strange car.
“In the beginning it feels like you are sitting on top of the car,” he said. “Something happens and you don’t really expect it or know exactly how to react to it. Then if you drive more and more you feel you are one with the car. Then you might know what is going to happen, and you know how to react. That just takes some time.”
Kubica clocked the best overall time at the Valencia test, and Heidfeld was fastest on day three in Jerez.