‘Quick Nick’, as he is often called by fans and teammates, will hold the concession to drive with the number ‘3’ imprinted on his car during the 2008 season for BMW Sauber.
The German is an extremely aggressive driver known to push his car to the limit and exploit whatever he can. It is also the reason behing him clinching a podium for Sauber in just his second season, at Interlagos in 2001 while driving alongside Raikkonen.
After impressive performances as a 24-year old for Sauber, he stayed with the Swiss constructor for a total of three seasons, driving alongside Raikkonen, Frentzen and Massa.
Heidfeld switched to Jordan Ford in 2004 in the hope that the British constructor would not replicate its poor show in the previous season. But sadly for the German, his car was not up to the mark and could not fetch him more than 3 points in the season.
Fresh openings at BMW Williams was a heartening sign for promising drivers and the likelihood of a German being signed up was really good, since the engine supplier had struck a deal with Williams in the late 90s expecting a German driver at the forefront.
It was a huge chance for Heidfeld in a promising career. He clinched second place at Malaysia (round 2 of 2005 season) after the first race of the season ended with a collision with Michael Schumacher, and this retirement from the race, at Albert Park the week before.
He continued to spring up good performances and aggravated a healthy rivalry with teammate Mark Webber. The German was much quicker than the Australian through most parts of the season and clinched two back-to-back second place finishes at Monaco and at Nurburgring.
2005 ended miserably for Heidfeld. He suffered a bad crash while testing at Monza and was forced to pull out of the remainder of the season. He suffered another motorcycle crash in the subsequent week and missed as many as five races to finish the season with 28 points.
2006 was the start of a new era for BMW in Formula One after it reached an agreement with Heidfeld’s old team and Swiss constructor Sauber. The new formulation retained the German but released Webber, who joined the Cosworth-associated Williams faction.
In 2006, Heidfeld took to the podium at Hungary but could not deliver the way he did during the previous season - although, the team entrusted enough faith in him to retain the driver for the 2007 season, alongside Robert Kubica, driving for the second year in Formula1.
2007 was by far his best season as he was constantly amongst the points and the rapidly evolving BMW Sauber outfit gained huge eminence in the Formula One fraternity. The constructor went from strength and strength and endowed the German-Polish duo of Heidfeld and Kubica with a highly competitive car.
The German finished the season with a career-high 61 points and clinched another podium place at the Hungaroring, this following his second place in Canada. He emerged fifth in the Drivers’ standings but will fill into ‘number3’ status in 2008 due to McLaren’s disqualification.
A race victory still beckons Heidfeld - who is out of all the current drivers, the one with the most starts but without the elusive win. 2008 promises to be yet another riveting season and if BMW resides by its pledges, the triumph for Heidfeld is not far away.
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