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Nick Heidfeld optimistic he'll race again 13 Nov 2009

Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 21 May 2009 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 2 October 2009 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 3 October 2009

To say that BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld endured a difficult 2009 would be something of an understatement. Not only did he score less than a third of the points he clinched the previous year, he also received the shock news that BMW were to withdraw from Formula One racing at the end of the season. A decision that put his future in Formula One under threat, Heidfeld found it difficult to swallow.

“When the phone call came, I could scarcely believe it,” explained the German on his official website. “It took a while for the reality to sink in. My reaction will been fairly typical, especially because all the members of the team were on holiday and the factory was closed. Everyone had to wait a couple of weeks without knowing or being able to ask what the future held. That was a bad time.”

Although BMW have found new buyers for the team, they currently do not have an entry slot for the 2010 championship. That could yet change, following news of Toyota’s pullout, but for now both the team’s and Heidfeld’s F1 fate remain uncertain.

“Clearly there were many factors to take into account,” he added. “But all the same, it's such a tremendous pity. BMW set out to win the Formula One title and I think we could have achieved that goal. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Sauber get a place on the grid in 2010.”

Although his tally of 19 points and 13th in the final standings look relatively meagre on paper when compared to his 2008 haul of four podiums and 60 points, Heidfeld is hopeful that teams still seeking a 2010 driver will look beyond the numbers and recognise his previous achievements and depth of experience.

“I'm not dissatisfied with my performance in 2009, as I feel that I generally got the maximum out of the car I was given,” he concluded. “But when you're battling for victories and podiums, people look only at the statistics - in the media at least. Fortunately, the people who run the teams can see beyond that. So all in all, I'm quite optimistic about the future.”

Heidfeld, who made his F1 debut with Prost in 2000, is one of the most experienced drivers on the market, and while he has yet to win a race, he has racked up 12 podiums, one pole and 219 points over his 10-year career.