Heidfeld Out, Senna In
Renault have confirmed that Bruno Senna will partner Vitaly Petrov this weekend, with Nick Heidfeld left on the sidelines. However, it is not yet confirmed if it is a permanent change, a one-off along the lines of Karun Chandhok’s outing at Lotus (not that Lotus keep copying Lotus or anything) or even a temporary move before a third driver enters the equation.
That third driver would be likely to be former Renault driver, Romain Grosjean, who team principal Eric Boullier has suggested he would be interested in running. Grosjean is on the brink of clinching the GP2 title, a feat he could manage this weekend as he enjoys a 25 point lead with just two rounds remaining. Therefore it’s not infeasible that he’s being allowed the opportunity to wrap up the series while Senna has a chance to show his ability for a race or two.
However, team owners Genii Capital have begun expanding into Brazil, announcing a joint venture with Brazilian investment group, WWI. Clearly, the Senna brand is a valuable asset in their bid to attract Brazilian investors.
Confusing the matter further, of course, is the potential return of Robert Kubica at some point in the future. If he does return, and it’s still an if, someone would have to make way. The changes seem to have Vitaly Petrov concerned as his manager, Oxana Kosachenko, has revealed that the negotiations on Petrov’s next season’s contracts are being revisited.
Meanwhile, where does that leave Nick Heidfeld? It would seem that Heidfeld’s exit is a permanent one – Renault GP have wasted no time in removing him from their website and only Kubica, Petrov, Senna and Grosjean now grace the ‘driver profiles’. The Daily Telegraph claims that the German driver ‘is prepared to use legal channels to hang on to his race seat.’ That seems unlikely, however, as it was thought that he was only drafted in to replace Kubica on a race-by-race contract anyway. Even if that isn’t the case, he’ll only cause further damage by suing the team that rescued his career from extinction.
It seems that we may have seen the last of ‘Quick Nick’ in Formula One.
Renault GP/Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic