Heidfeld under pressure as BMW rookies loom

Thu, 11 January 2007, 09:26

German veteran Nick Heidfeld has taken exception to his BMW boss’ claim that the promotion of Robert Kubica last year gave him a “wake-up call”.

“I know that is what Mario (Theissen) thinks,” said 29-year-old Heidfeld, who seemingly suffered a dip in form in 2006 as he raced alongside Kubica and, during the first half of the season, Jacques Villeneuve.

Referring again to BMW-Sauber team principal Mario Theissen’s comments, Heidfeld told Sport Bild: “However, I see things differently.”

But with BMW-Sauber’s young German test driver Sebastian Vettel now waiting in the wings as test driver, the pressure has moved squarely from ousted Villeneuve to Heidfeld’s shoulders to prove that a veteran of 100-plus grands prix is still a better choice for the future than a rookie.

With 22-year-old Kubica, BMW’s gamble on a rookie paid off, and Heidfeld is under contract only to 2008.

Nicknamed ‘Quick Nick’, meanwhile, Heidfeld sees Kimi Raikkonen as the favourite to win the drivers’ title in 2007.

“Ferrari know exactly what they are getting with Kimi,” he added, playing down speculation that the Finn might struggle to ably replace Michael Schumacher at the Italian team.


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