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Renault to evaluate Heidfeld at Jerez

Nick HeidfeldNick Heidfeld will test for Renault at Jerez later this week as the outfit evaluates a replacement for the injured Robert Kubica.

The German has emerged as the leading contender to stand in for Kubica, who could be out for the remainder of the season as the result of the serious injuries he picked up in a rally crash at the weekend.

Although Renault has five reserve drivers, and is giving its lead one Bruno Senna a first test in its car this week, the team has made no secret of the fact that it will need an experienced driver to lead its team if Kubica is sidelined for a long time.

Heidfeld has held talks with Renault over the last 48 hours and agreement has been reached for him to run at Jerez at some point this week. Vitaly Petrov will test, as originally scheduled, on Thursday and Friday before Senna and Heidfeld are given mileage over the weekend.

Renault team owner Gerard Lopez said earlier today that the team would wait until after testing before deciding on who will partner Vitaly Petrov this year - and Heidfeld's chances will depend on how he compares pace-wise against Senna.

"We must wait for the Jerez tests now, and thankfully the Barcelona ones too, and see how the car is going, and how the driver - who will start the season and maybe ending it too - is doing. We don't know," he told

"There are drivers who have had good races, for example Nick Heidfeld. We all know that Nick is rather good, but we don't know what level he is in now, we don't know how he does with our car. Same goes for Vitantonio Liuzzi, same goes - I don't know -for Bruno Senna, who last year was in a team with a car that could do nothing."

Heidfeld has been left without a seat after being replaced at Sauber at the end of last season by Sergio Perez, who brought valuable sponsorship backing from Mexico.

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