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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Nick Heidfeld signs up as Mercedes reserve driver

Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld is stepping back from 10 years as a race driver

Nick Heidfeld has been named reserve driver for the Mercedes team, giving them an all-German line-up alongside Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.

Heidfeld, 32, steps down from racing after 10 years with the Prost, Sauber Jordan, Williams and BMW Sauber teams.

Heidfeld, whose best result is a second place, had been unable to find a race seat in an established team.

"While I would of course have preferred a seat as an active driver, I am really proud to be part of the Silver Arrows."

Heidfeld would step in if either of the regular race drivers were unable to compete.

His contract was expected to be announced at the Mercedes team launch in Stuttgart at the end of January but team boss Ross Brawn said the deal had not been finalised at that point.

Brawn said: "It's a great pleasure for us to have signed a driver of the calibre and experience of Nick Heidfeld as our reserve race driver and test driver for the 2010 season.

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"Nick has more than 10 years of experience in F1 working with established teams and he will be a great asset to Mercedes GP.

"I am confident that his input into the development of our MGP W01 car will be invaluable."

Just as with Schumacher, Heidfeld's appointment by Mercedes brings his career full circle - he was a Mercedes young driver and in the late 1990s was a test driver for the McLaren-Mercedes team before making his F1 debut, but has never raced in F1 for the German marque.

Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz motorsport: said: "To sign Nick means another re-enforcement for our team.

"We have known each other for many years and Nick was supported by our junior drivers programme from 1997.

"During his 10 years in F1, circumstances often made it difficult for him to achieve his breakthrough. However, Nick is extremely capable, he will be an asset to our team and he will show this."



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see also
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04 Feb 10 |  Formula 1


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