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Reserve role for Heidfeld at Mercedes GP 04 Feb 2010

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 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 with black helmet. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday 3 February 2010. Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09 in the second practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 (L to R): Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP with Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Team Principal and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain, Monday 1 February 2010.

Mercedes GP confirmed on Thursday that Nick Heidfeld is to join the team as their reserve and test driver for the 2010 Formula One season. Heidfeld, who raced for BMW Sauber from 2006-09, joins fellow Germans Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg in the squad’s line-up.

"I am very pleased to be joining the Mercedes Formula One Team,” said the 32 year-old. “It's the team which has attracted the most interest in the off season, not only because of the comeback of Michael Schumacher, but also because this season sees the return of the ‘Silver Arrows’ cars as a Mercedes-Benz works team for the first time in over fifty years.

“Whilst I would of course have preferred a seat as an active driver, I am really proud to be part of the new ‘Silver Arrows’ team. I have seen how committed everyone at the team is and I feel the same. I will be doing my very best to support Michael and Nico this year."

Like Schumacher, Heidfeld is another former Mercedes Junior who returns to his motorsport roots. After winning the 1997 German Formula Three Championship as a junior driver supported by Mercedes, he tested a McLaren Mercedes Formula One car for the first time. He became the team’s test driver for the 1998 and 1999 seasons, during which time he enjoyed two successful years in Formula 3000, as runner-up in 1998 and champion in 1999.

Heidfeld began his Formula One career with the Prost team in 2000 and since then has participated in 167 Grands Prix driving for Sauber (2001-2003), Jordan (2004), Williams (2005) and BMW Sauber (2006-2009). He had his best Formula One season in 2007 when he finished in fifth position in the world championship. To date in his Formula One career, Heidfeld has achieved 12 podium finishes.

"It's a great pleasure for us to have signed a driver of the calibre and experience of Nick as our reserve race driver and test driver for the 2010 season,” said Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn. “Nick has over ten years of experience in Formula One working with established teams and he will be a great asset to the team. I am confident that his input into the development of our MGP W01 car will be invaluable. We look forward to welcoming Nick and working closely with him."

Norbert Haug, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, added: "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 Formula One, 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."