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Heidfeld to race for BMW in 2006 16 Sep 2005

Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Preparations, Mangy-Cours, France, 30 June 2005

Nick Heidfeld has been signed by BMW to front their new works team, following the German automaker’s takeover of Sauber. Heidfeld, currently with the BMW-powered Williams team, previously spent three seasons with Sauber.

Announcing Heidfeld’s three-year contract, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented: "For us, a new era in Formula One will begin on 1 January 2006 when BMW takes over the team operated by Peter Sauber. We are very pleased that Nick will be with us in what will undoubtedly be a difficult initial phase.

“He is not simply a fast and courageous driver, he is also an analytical and meticulous worker. Nick already knows the two sites in Munich and Hinwil, and is familiar with everybody involved."

Heidfeld, who is currently recovering from a cycling accident in his adopted home of Switzerland, said: "I'm really looking forward to the future. As far as I'm concerned, this represents the fulfilment of a big dream. I have a great deal of respect for the work carried out in Hinwil from 2001 to 2003. And for nearly a year now, I've experienced at first hand the commitment and resources BMW puts into its Formula One project. Naturally, I'm not expecting a miracle during the first season after a new start in 2006. But I'm confident that the new team will be successful over the long term."

After leaving Sauber, Heidfeld spent a year at Jordan before winning his place as Mark Webber’s 2005 team mate at Williams. He achieved his first Formula One pole position in May at the Nurburgring and has since taken second place in two races (Monaco and Nurburgring).

Heidfeld has missed the last two Grands Prix through illness and has now officially been ruled out of next weekend's Brazilian race due to a shoulder injury. His departure from Williams leaves a seat vacant for Jenson Button, should the British driver end up making the much-talked-about switch from BAR.