Heidfeld buoyant after first Sauber runs

Nick Heidfeld has raved about his Sauber's performance after his first test runs in the car at Jerez in Spain

Heidfeld buoyant after first Sauber runs

The 23-year-old German, who suffered a dismal debut season in Formula 1 with Prost Grand Prix last year in which failed to score a point, was seventh quickest in testing today, just over half a second off Juan Pablo Montoya's fastest time. His C19 machine was also the second fastest of the Bridgestone-shod cars.

"I'm absolutely over the moon," he told Autosport.com. "I'm pretty happy with the engine and pleased with the team. We've been getting to know each other, although I know my engineer from Formula 3000, and I feel a lot more welcome here. That's probably down to the culture and language, which is more German than French."

Heidfeld says the Sauber-Petronas is more than a match for his mount of 2000 - the much-maligned Prost-Peugeot.

"There is no comparison between the two cars," he added. "The rear-end of the Sauber is so stable, and the engine is more driveable and has a lot more power. After what happened last year, I feel I am now showing what I'm capable of doing."

Heidfeld had been in the top five for much of the day, following on from his fourth quickest time yesterday. His team-mate for 2001 will be decided tomorrow when the FIA World Council decides if Kimi Raikkonen is worth of a Formula 1 super-licence. The Finn was seventh quickest yesterday - less than a second slower than McLaren's David Coulthard - and ninth fastest today, 0.7s slower than Heidfeld.

To see pictures from Wednesday's Jerez testing, click HERE.

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