The latest rumour doing the rounds is that Nick Heidfeld is set to replace the struggling Pedro de la Rosa at Sauber with immediate effect, with the Spanish driver swapping places to take over the German’s role as Pirelli’s official tyre tester.
Heidfeld, who left his roles as Mercedes GP’s test driver and the GPDA’s chairman in order to take up the role at Pirelli, is now apparently in Peter Sauber’s headlights to replace the veteran McLaren test driver in time for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Heidfeld, 33, has already performed two private tests with Pirelli – who are making their return as F1’s sole tyre supplier in 2011 – and it is reported by Auto Motor und Sport that final outing could be the next Pirelli test scheduled in Spain.
De la Rosa would be an ideal replacement to replace Heidfeld, as he comes with over seven years’ experience as McLaren’s test driver between 2003-9.
The German daily also reports that moves to oust de la Rosa – who has generally been overshadowed by team-mate Kamui Kobayashi this season – as long ago as the British Grand Prix, but the 39-year-old was given a stay of execution on the back of his points-scoring result at Valencia.
However, the team has remained tight-lipped on the latest rumours, with a spokesman for the team saying: “Peter Sauber will not be commenting about drivers.”
Sauber currently sits eighth in the Constructors’ Championship standings with a twenty-point gap to the Williams outfit in seventh, and perhaps the squad feels that a driver of Heidfeld’s calibre – and to be fair to de la Rosa, he has rarely shown blistering pace in his lengthy F1 career – might be a key ingredient to moving up the championship ladder.