Nick Heidfeld

Full Name:
Nick Lars Heidfeld
Born:
10th May 1977 (Age 41)
Monchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia
Nationality:
German
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The young Nick Heidfeld was groomed as a future Formula 1 driver by McLaren-Mercedes. But he never raced for the Woking-based concern or fully realised that early potential during a long career as a Grand Prix driver.

Impressive early racing career

His progress through the training formulae was almost without flaw. Two successful seasons in German Formula Ford culminated in finishing as runner-up in 1995. He graduated to Formula 3 a year later with Opel Team BSR and a Dallara F395. Third in the Zandvoort Masters and in the German F3 Championship, Heidfeld remained with Bertram Schäfer’s crack team to win the Monaco F3 race and narrowly beat Timo Scheider to the 1997 title.

He joined the McLaren-run West Competition team for his Formula 3000 debut in 1998 and ran pre-season favourite Juan Pablo Montoya close. Monaco was among his three victories as he took the title battle to the final round before having to be content with being runner-up. He won four of the first six 1999 races and secured a dominant F3000 title with two rounds to spare.

Formula 1 with Prost and Sauber

Heidfeld also tested for both the McLaren and Prost F1 teams that year. He graduated to GP racing in 2000 with the French outfit but it was a disastrous season as the team floundered. Heidfeld’s confidence took a battering before he moved to Sauber-Petronas for 2001 as team-mate for precocious youngster Kimi Räikkönen. An excellent campaign included third position in the wet Brazilian GP as Heidfeld shared seventh in the championship.

Despite out-qualifying and out-scoring Räikkönen, it was the Finn who was chosen by McLaren for 2002. Heidfeld continued with Sauber but suffered a huge accident in Austria when he T-boned Takuma Satō’s Jordan.

Podium finishes for Williams and BMW Sauber

A move to the underfunded Jordan Grand Prix for 2004 proved little better but Heidfeld found refuge for the following season with Williams-BMW after a testing "shoot-out" with Antônio Pizzonia. Third in Malaysia at the start of 2005, the German scored successive second place finishes in Monaco and at the Nürburgring – the latter from a maiden pole position. He crashed in testing before the Italian GP and was forced to miss the rest of the season but his F1 reputation had been restored somewhat.

He remained with BMW when the company bought Sauber that close season but he continued to be a frustrated "nearly man". His four years with the BMW Sauber F1 Team yielded another eight podium finishes but no victory. He compared favourably with team-mate Jacques Villeneuve in 2006 and finished fifth in the 2007 World Championship with a succession of points finishes that included second in Canada. But when BMW Sauber finally won its first race – the 2008 Canadian GP – it was team-mate Robert Kubica who led a 1-2 for the team.

Life after BMW

BMW withdrew from F1 at the end of 2009 and Heidfeld was left without a drive so he joined the newly rebranded Mercedes GP as reserve driver for 2010. He also tested for Pirelli as it prepared to return to F1 and drove a Sauber C29-Ferrari in the last five GPs after replacing Pedro de la Rosa.

When Kubica was injured in a rally accident on the eve of the 2011 season, Heidfeld was chosen by Renault as his replacement. Again he finished third in Malaysia but that proved the highlight of an increasingly disappointing campaign and he was eventually replaced by Bruno Senna for the Belgian GP.

Sports cars and Formula E

He switched to the 2012 World Endurance Championship, joining regulars Nicolas Prost and Neel Jani for the first three rounds in Rebellion Racing’s Lola B12/60-Toyota. That included finishing in a fine fourth behind the dominant Audis in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Rebellion also raced in the American Le Mans Series in 2013 and the car he shared with Prost and Jani won the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta to finish as runners-up despite a curtailed programme.

Fourth again in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, he has also been a regular in the FIA Formula E Championship for electric single-seaters. He was eliminated from the inaugural Beijing race in a spectacular accident with Prost at the final corner. Third in Moscow was his best result during that 2014/15 season. He began the following season by finishing third in Beijing before a hand injury suffered in Putrajaya interrupted his campaign. Normally in the top 10 when he returned, he was fourth in Long Beach and 10th in the 2015/16 standings.

This quiet and personable German made consistency a watchword but he lacked the killer instinct or luck to turn his 13 podium finishes into a GP victory.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2017/2018 FIA Formula E Championship
Mahindra Racing
12 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 42
2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship
Mahindra Racing
12 0 5 0
0% win rate
7th 88
2016 World Endurance Championship
Rebellion Racing
4 0 0 0 14th 25.5
2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship
Mahindra Racing
9 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 51
2015 World Endurance Championship
Rebellion Racing
3 0 0 0 29th 2
2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship
Venturi
11 0 1 0
0% win rate
12th 31
2014 World Endurance Championship
Rebellion Racing
8 0 0 0 10th 64.5
2013 American Le Mans Series
Rebellion Racing
1 0 1 1 0
2013 World Endurance Championship
Rebellion Racing
5 0 1 0 8th 48
2012 World Endurance Championship
Rebellion Racing
3 0 0 0 14th 42.5
2011 F1 World Championship
Lotus Renault GP
11 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 34
2010 F1 World Championship
BMW Sauber F1 Team
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 6
2009 F1 World Championship
BMW Sauber F1 Team
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
13th 19
2008 F1 World Championship
BMW Sauber F1 Team
18 0 4 0
0% win rate
6th 60
2007 F1 World Championship
BMW Sauber F1 Team
17 0 2 0
0% win rate
5th 61
2006 F1 World Championship
BMW Sauber F1 Team
18 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 23
2005 F1 World Championship
BMW Williams F1
13 (2) 1 3 0
0% win rate
11th 28
2004 F1 World Championship
Jordan Ford
18 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 3
2003 F1 World Championship
Red Bull Sauber Petronas
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 6
2002 F1 World Championship
Sauber Petronas
17 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 7
2001 F1 World Championship
Red Bull Sauber Petronas
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
7th 12
2000 F1 World Championship
Gauloises Prost Peugeot
16 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1999 FIA International F3000 Championship
West Competition (McLaren)
10 3 7 4
40% win rate
1st 59
1998 FIA International F3000 Championship
West Competition (McLaren)
12 2 7 3
25% win rate
2nd 58
1997 German F3 Championship 1st -