By Alex Kapadia
Racing driver Nick Heidfeld is hoping his new role testing the tyres for Pirelli’s re-entry into the world of Formula One will result in his return to the track.
The former BMW Sauber racer and Mercedes GP reserve is helping the Italian tyres manufacturer develop the new tyres for the 2011 season, when Pirelli takes over from Bridgestone as the sole tyre supplier.
Heidfeld said that the knowledge he is gaining of the Pirelli tyres should give him an edge when it comes to signing with a new team for next season.
The German driver revealed: “I think it is obvious that this fact helps. We are in talks with a couple of teams and everybody knows that I am helping Pirelli develop the tyres. So yes, it is a bonus, and yes, there are definite talks for next season, but so far no signature.
“I am quite confident of making a return to the grid next year. I am very thankful to Mercedes that they let me go. They always said that they would not stand in my way should there be an opportunity for me, and they didn’t.”
Heidfeld believes that he will benefit from being on the inside-track when it comes to tyres. He added: “It is no secret that I’m not doing these tests for money but in order to pave my way back into a cockpit for 2011.
“I am helping Pirelli to develop their tyres – I give them my comments, they implement them, and so we improve the tyres step by step. That should be an asset for many teams.”