Mercedes has confirmed that Nick Heidfeld has been recruited as the team's official test and reserve driver, giving the Brackley based outfit an all-German line-up.
Like Michael Schumacher, Heidfeld is another former Mercedes Junior who is returning to his motorsport roots. After winning the 1997 German Formula 3 Championship, as a junior driver supported by Mercedes, Heidfeld tested a McLaren Mercedes Formula One car for the first time.
The German was the McLaren Mercedes test driver for the 1998 and 1999 seasons, during which time he had two successful years in Formula 3000, as runner-up in 1998 and winning the Formula 3000 Championship, held alongside the Formula One races, in 1999.
Heidfeld began his F1 career with the Prost team in 2000 and since then has participated in 167 Grands Prix driving for Sauber (2001-2003), Jordan (2004), Williams (2005) and BMW Sauber (2006-2009). He had his best Formula One season in 2007 when he finished in fifth position in the world championship. To date in his Formula One career, Nick has achieved 12 podium finishes.
"I am very pleased to be joining the Mercedes Formula One Team," said Heidfeld. "It's the team which has attracted the most interest in the close season, not only because of the comeback of Michael Schumacher, but also because this season sees the return of the Silver Arrows cars as a Mercedes-Benz works team for the first time in over fifty years. Whilst I would of course have preferred a seat as an active driver, I am really proud to be part of the new Silver Arrows team. I have seen how committed everyone at the team is and I feel the same. I will be doing my very best to support Michael and Nico this year."
"It's a great pleasure for us to have signed a driver of the calibre and experience of Nick as our reserve and test driver," said Ross Brawn. "Nick has over ten years of experience in Formula One working with established teams and he will be a great asset to the team. I am confident that his input into the development of our car will be invaluable. We look forward to welcoming Nick and working closely with him."
"To sign Heidfeld as reserve and test driver means another re-enforcement for our team," added Norbert Haug. "We have known each other for many years and Nick was supported by our junior drivers programme from 1997. During his 10 years in Formula One, circumstances often made it difficult for him to achieve his breakthrough. However Nick is extremely capable, he will be an asset to our team and he will show this."