(GMM) Nick Heidfeld came close to being appointed as Robert Kubica’s new teammate for 2011.
Instead, the 33-year-old is replacing Kubica following the Pole’s horror rally crash, after Renault decided to keep the well-backed Vitaly Petrov on board this season.
But, after Kubica’s crash, the ease with which Renault chose German Heidfeld to test the R31 at Jerez last week before appointing him for the newly-vacant race seat is explained by Heidfeld’s latest comments in Sport Bild magazine.
“I know the people in charge of the team very well, because during the 2010 season I talked with them about coming here for 2011,” he said.
Heidfeld admits it feels “strange” to be replacing his former long-time BMW teammate this season, but insists he would have been happy to simply retain his Sauber seat for 2011.
“I was disappointed when I went no further with Sauber at the end of 2010,” admitted the German.
“But I believed firmly that my career was not yet over, which is why I trained harder than usual in the winter.”
Heidfeld was the quickest in the field when he tested Renault’s innovative new car at Jerez, and he is not ruling out securing his first ever win this year.
“In the longer term I still want to win the world championship. I won’t be put off from my goal,” he insisted.