Sauber confirm Heidfeld will replace De la Rosa

Sauber have confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will replace Pedro de la Rosa for the remainder of the 2010 season, as was widely reported yesterday.

Heidfeld, 33, has signed a contract with the team which comes into effect on Friday, and will be in the car in Singapore, the next race on the Formula 1 calendar.

The German, who has 169 grand prix starts to his name, began the season as Mercedes’ test and reserve driver before being released to help Pirelli develop next season’s tyre compounds. He had a three season spell with Sauber at the beginning of the decade and returned for the four years in which BMW owned the team, leaving at the end of 2009 as the German car company left the sport.

“I'm looking forward like crazy to having the opportunity to go racing again in a good car in Formula One from the Singapore Grand Prix onwards,” said Heidfeld. “After the last months I'm even more motivated than ever. For me it is like coming home, as I raced for seven years in total for the team from Hinwil.

“Without doubt I will be feeling at home straight away and this should help me to familiarise myself as soon as possible with the car. I want to thank Peter Sauber for the faith he has put in me.”

Peter Sauber thanked de la Rosa for his efforts this season, and looks forward to welcoming Heidfeld back to the team: “It was a hard decision for me to make as a Team Principal and I want to thank Pedro for his professionalism. By signing Nick we have a driver we know extremely well who will help us to further judge the comparative potential of our car.”

At 39, de la Rosa may struggle to find a race seat next year but is determined to remain in the sport. “I am surprised by the team´s decision, but I respect it and would like to wish everyone good luck for the remainder of the season,” the Spaniard said, adding “I still intend to be in Formula One for 2011.”