BMW driver Nick Heidfeld has again gone on record saying that he doesn’t understand his team’s decision to run third drivers during Friday’s practice sessions. So far, nine of the eleven teams have chosen to run their race drivers during the sessions in order to maximise their chances at setting the car up as close to perfect as possible, and to also gain as much understanding of the circuit as they can. However, at the Australian Grand Prix, Williams and BMW ran their third drivers, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastian Vettel respectively.
Heidfeld believes it would be more productive to run either himself or his team mate Robert Kubica, saying that the data collected could be just as easily done by the race drivers. It is not the first time Nick has gone on record against his team, and while voicing his opinion in closed meetings would surely be accepted with open ears, speaking about these matters to the world’s media is probably not the best way to endear the team towards him.
A test driver does not supply any data that I cannot collect for myself, and the other main teams all leave their race drivers in the cars. Nick Heidfeld.
BMW team boss Mario Thiessen has recently stated that Nick could become a World Champion in the future, citing that he is quick and intelligent. While championships are a long way off yet, Thiessen is hoping for further podiums and even a win or two. However, while Nick is currently in his bosses good books, he won’t remain there if he continues to air dirty laundry in public. Like at Renault, there are young up-and-coming drivers waiting in the wings and ready to take over should the need arise.