BMW tell Heidfeld to lift his game

BMW Sauber have told Nick Heidfeld that he must lift his game more to convince them he has got over his early season problems with their car if he wants to remain as Robert Kubica's teammate next year

BMW tell Heidfeld to lift his game

The Hinwil-based team have, as autosport.com exclusively predicted in May, taken up Kubica's option for 2009.

High level sources have also revealed that attempts by BMW chiefs to tie Kubica down for their preferred three-year period failed, with the Pole adamant he wants to be a free agent for 2010.

Kubica's new deal is unlikely to be announced until the team know who his teammate will be, and Heidfeld's up-and-down form is making their decision on him far from straightforward.

For although Heidfeld had made big progress in recent races to overcome the qualifying issues, setbacks in Hungary and Valencia have once again cast doubts about how on top of the issues he is.

And BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen has made it clear that he wants to see more strong qualifying performance from Heidfeld before he is sure that the German is the right man for his team in 2009.

When asked by autosport.com if he had seen enough yet of Heidfeld's step forward to be convinced for next year, Theissen said: "I am not sure. What we saw in Valencia was mixed again and, in the second run in qualifying two, it was almost a perfect lap. He was struggling before in two specific areas of the track and in that one lap he was able to do that very cleanly.

"I hope it gives him the confidence to be strong again in the races, he has been strong, I think he will be back on track."

When asked if the qualifying factor was going to play a key factor in his team's driver decision for 2009, Theissen said: "It has to, because if you look what you can do from P10, it is limited."

BMW Sauber have not confirmed their taking up of Kubica's option, or the fact they would have preferred a three-year deal, although Theissen did admit last weekend that longer term contracts were more favourable.

"In F1 stability is an important factor, that is what I can say," he said. "That applies to the driver as well as to the key engineers, even the operational tasks. It is so important.

"Generally, I would favour a longer term arrangement on the driver side."

Read this week's edition of Autosport for an in-depth analysis on Robert Kubica's situation.

shares
comments
Senna: No F1 deal signed yet

Previous article

Senna: No F1 deal signed yet

Next article

Massa maintains form in Monza test

Massa maintains form in Monza test
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021