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Nick Heidfeld

By Chris
November 12 2006

Nick Heidfeld, it has to be said, is a bit of a revelation. On the surface he may seem like just a goody two-shoes, shy, boring even. But that couldn't be further from the truth. It's easy to underestimate the man from Mönchengladbach.

After he roared into the limelight in 2005 with two second-placed finishes and a pole position, he was hailed as the surprise of the season. Yet most observers have no idea that he is also a party animal who hits the dance floor clad in funky gear, is passionate about modern art, and regularly pushes engineers to the limits of their capacity. But it suits Nick that this side of him is not very well known. In Formula One he wants to be judged by his performance alone. He values the stopwatch as an honest critic. He is self-confident. He knows what he is capable of. But he's not one for interviews on the grid. "I still get nervous before the start of a race," he confesses - despite two decades of track experience.

He set up base privately in Switzerland as well with his girlfriend Patricia. "Monaco was always fun for a few days, but it wasn't what I was seeking for the long term." Meanwhile, he has bought a house in the Swiss town of Stäfa. "Built in the mid-19th century," he points out. Its gym, modern interior features and modern art are in stark contrast to the traditional style of living. "The area is ideal for cycling." Nick's fitness regime also includes tennis, golf "and a lot of other sports. I enjoy everything. There isn't a single sporting discipline that I favour above the rest." On 3rd July 2005, the house in Stäfa welcomed a new occupant: baby daughter Juni is a Sunday child, which added to the expectant father's stress in Magny-Cours. Even before the start of the race he knew the birth was imminent - and he made it just in time to be there at the birth of his daughter. "No matter how you imagine it's going to be, it's an experience you just can't describe and a source of great happiness for Patricia and me."

His career: Nick Heidfeld celebrated many successes in Formula Ford in 1994 and 1995, before switching to German Formula 3, finishing third overall in 1996 and going on to win the 1997 Championship. At the same time he completed several Formula One tests for McLaren Mercedes. In 1998 he finished runner-up in the International Formula 3000 series, while in 1999 he took the title in style. These successes brought him to the Prost Formula One team in 2000. The German didn't score any points, but moved to Sauber in 2001 and clinched his first podium finish in the same year. In 2002 and 2003 he established himself as a solid points scorer. A difficult year with Jordan followed in 2004. But Nick managed to rehabilitate himself completely in the following season. After he had shown he can handle pressure, when he won the testing duel against Antonio Pizzonia to claim his place in the BMW WilliamsF1 Team for the season, he became one of the positive surprises of the Formula One season. Following the first pole position of his career at the European GP and two second places during the season, BMW didn't hesitate to sign him for the BMW Sauber F1 Team for the 2006 season and beyond.

In 2006, Nick scored BMW's first podium after a faultless drive in Hungary, coming through from 10th on the grid to finish on the rostrum in 3rd. He also gave BMW their best ever qualifying result, 3rd in Monza.


Name: Nick Heidfeld

Date of birth: 10th May 1977

Place of birth: Mönchengladbach, Germany

Residence: Stäfa, Switzerland

Marital status: lives with girlfriend Patricia, daughter Juni

Height/weight: 1,64 m/70 kg.

Hair colour: blond

Eye colour: blue

Races contested: 98

Victories: - 0 (Best race result, 2nd, Monaco and Europe 2005)

Best Championship placing: 8th (2001)

Poles: 1 (Europe 2005)

Professional Career:
1995 > Runner-up in the German Formula Ford Championship.
1997 > German Formula 3 Champion.
1999 > FIA International Formula 3000 Champion with West team, also McLaren test driver
2000 > Makes his debut with the Prost team. No points scored
2001 > Now with Sauber, scores 12 points and ends up eighth in the Drivers' Championship
2002 > A fourth, a fifth and two sixth places in his second season with Sauber. He finishes tenth in the Drivers' Championship
2003 > Qualifies in the top ten three times and scores six points. Dropped by Sauber for 2004
2004 > Tough season with Jordan brings just three points. However, goes on to win Williams drive for 2005
2005 > Upstages highly-rated Williams team mate Mark Webber by taking pole at the Nurburgring and beating the Australian to second place in Monaco. Ahead of Webber in standings after 14 rounds, but misses last five races through illness and injury. Quits team to join BMW's new works squad for 2006.

2006 > Now with the BMW Sauber F1 team, Nick is familiar with both partners of the team from previous years (Sauber 2001 - 2003, BMW 2005), and he gave the new team their first podium in Hungary. Directly after that race, he impressed further by giving the team their two best qualifying results of the season in a row- 5th in Turkey and 3rd in Monza.



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