The early part of Nick Heidfeld’s F1 career was respectable, if unremarkable. But by the end of 2003 he was at something of a dead end, and found himself at Jordan, a team that was on its last legs.
Despite that, he soon found himself allied to one of F1’s emerging powerhouse teams – BMW.
2004: But first, he had to drive for Jordan. He did manage to race with Giancarlo Fisichella (with whom he had swapped seats) here in Australia, but Fisichelle was ahead of him most of the season. In fact, while Heidfeld did score a couple of times, it seemed as if he wasn’t getting another chance to move back up the order.
2005: Just when it almost seemed to be over for Heidfeld, he managed to get a seat at Williams-BMW. And he made the most of it – scoring podiums and beating teammate Mark Webber.
Heidfeld also grabbed his first (and so far only) pole position of his career at the Nurburgring. This video shows the difference in speed between Heidfeld’s 2005 pole lap and Raikkonen’s 2007 pole lap.
2006: With Williams and BMW ending their partnership, it always seemed likely that Heidfeld would move with BMW – after all, BMW were taking over his old team Sauber. He easily dispatched team mate Jacques Villeneuve, and readily raced with most of the field (like here against DC in Bahrain). He would find an equal, however, in Villeneuve’s mid-season replacement Robert Kubica.
2007: Heidfeld had a great season that year, scoring two podium finishes at Montreal and the Hungaroring, and beating his much-vaunted team mate Kubica.
But for me, Nick’s best moment that year was driving his BMW F1 car around the old Nordschleife. So here’s his whole lap – with onboards! Sit back and enjoy this one.
2008: While not as great as the heady heights of 2007, Heidfeld still had a very good 2008, scoring almost as many points as 2007, and finishing all the races. In fact, the last time he retired from a race was at Indianapolis in 2007. Here he is chasing down Felipe Massa for third at Hockenheim.
2009: After the brilliance of 2007 and 2008, BMW were bumped back to reality this year. Other than Heidfeld’s podium at Sepang, the team haven’t had much in the way of good results this year. Here’s Nick doing a qualifying lap at Melbourne.
So what does the future hold for Quick Nick? His contract with BMW ends this year, but with Kubica rumoured to be looking at other teams, BMW may want to keep him on for his experience.
In the meantime he faces an expectant home crowd – without a car to give them the result they want.