Nick Heidfeld Sumar
Nick started his career at the tender age of nine in the club championship of karting, club Kerpen-Manheim. By the time he was thirteen he had come first in the DMV Karting Championship of Nordrhein-Westfalen as well as capturing a fifth place in the Nordrhein-Westfalen Cup. The following year, 1991, he came third in the ADAC Junior Trophy and was a member of the ADAC Junior national team and the winner of the International CIK junior run.
In 1992 he took
5th place in the German junior karting championship before gaining entry in the World Championship in Laval, France (Formula A). In 1994 he took victory in the German Formula Ford 1600 Championship when he won eight out of a possible nine races. This was followed by yet another victory in 1995 this time winning the FF1800 International German Championship with 4 victories and five podium finishes as well as being the runner-up of the Formula Ford 1800 German Championship.
1996 saw him involved in the German Formula 3 championship, with the Opal Team BSR. He had three victories, and finished third place overall. He also took pole position in the Grand Prix Macau, was the winner of the first heat and finished in 6th place overall. 1997 saw him move to Mercedes as a junior driver and he was signed as a test driver for West McLaren Mercedes. He continued to drive for the Opal team in the German Formula 3 championship and took the title. He was runner-up in the FIA F3000 International Championship in 1998 with victories at Monaco, Hockenheim and the Hungaroring. He had two pole positions and two fastest laps.
1999 saw him still test driving for the McLaren Formula One team as well as becoming the Formula Three Champion for the West team with 53 points for the season. He made his debut in Formula One in the 2000 season with the Prost team, however all endured a very hard year and his initial impression was marred by constant reliability failures.
Switching to Sauber for 2001, Nick made his debut appearance to the podium with a third place in Brazil. He went on to secure eighth place overall with a total of 12 points, helping the Swiss outfit to fourth in the constructors battle, their best finish to date. He remained with the team for the 2002 season, partnering yet another up and coming star, Felipe Massa, however the team slipped back to fifth place in the constructors battle while Nick only managed seven points overall.
2003 wasn't any easier for Heidfeld. The Sauber C22 was not as competitive as expected and the German was only able to score two points... until the team took a risky strategy at Indianapolis and got an excellent result that gave 4 additional points to Nick. With the announcement of Felipe Massa's return at Sauber and the arrival of Giancarlo Fisichella in the Swiss team, there was no other choice for Heidfeld but to find another opportunity to drive in 2004.
It was a long winter for the 25-year-old driver, who started testing with Jordan without being sure of landing a contract for the upcoming season. After many weeks of uncertainty, Eddie Jordan confirmed Heidfeld in the team, giving the German the opportunity of staying in F1.
With Jordan in 2004, it was always going to be a bit of a struggle. The Ford Cosworth power was no match for the major manufacturers but Heidfeld managed to out-qualify his team-mates 15 times during the season - no mean feat in itself. Points were scarce with Heidfeld picking up a seventh position at Monaco and an eighth in Montreal.
2004 was something of a stop-gap season for the German driver but 2005 is his big chance as he joined Mark Webber at BMW Williams. Heidfeld's season got off to a great start as he secured three podium positions in the first seven races but all was not well with the BMW - Williams partnership. In July BMW announced that it was taking over the Sauber squad and that Heidfeld would be driving for the new team in the 2006 season. On track, Heidfeld's performances tailed off.
Testing ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Heidfeld suffered a fairly large accident. Complaining of headaches, the team opted not to race the German at the Italian track and there and then his season with Williams came to a premature end. Looking ahead, Heidfeld has proven he is worth of a car capable of winning races but with the new BMW Sauber squad, faces another tough season as the new team get up to speed.
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