With Renault announcing that test driver Bruno Senna will take Nick Heidfeld’s seat for the opening practice session of the Hungarian Grand Prix, speculation is mounting that the German veteran’s seat at the team us under threat.
Reports in German’s Bild and Auto Motor und Sport are already questioning whether the announcement could indicate that Heidfeld – who crashed out of his home race last weekend – has lost the support of key managerial figures in the team.
On top of this, he again qualified outside the top-ten and triggered a first-lap collision with Paul di Resta that earned him a drive-through penalty. After the race at the Nurburgring, team boss Eric Boullier described as “extremely disappointed” with the man brought in to replace the injured Robert Kubica.
“We rely more on Vitaly (Petrov) for performance, with Nick more suitable for the development of the car,” Boullier told sports.fr.
“He has not provided the leadership we wanted. He hasn’t taken hold of the team,” he added.
We reported last month that Renault team owner Gerard Lopez had travelled to Brazil with Senna, apparently to search for sponsorship backing.
Boullier, meanwhile, has been touting the prospects of a return to the F1 stage for GP2 Series points’ leader Romain Grosjean, the very driver he manages. With Boullier also involved in trying to resurrect the French Grand Prix, it makes sense that a French driver is also on the scene as well.
Grosjean drove for a few races with Renault in 2009 as the team struggled in the aftermath of the ‘Crashgate’ scandal, and he achieved little other than a series of clumsy spins and crashes. No doubt out of his depth and with the cards very much not in his favour, it was little surprise. But his domination of the GP2 championship has made a few people sit up and take notice…
[Image via The Cahier Archive]