Nick Heidfeld has been replaced by Bruno Senna

As feared, Nick Heidfeld has been dumped by the Renault team in favour of test driver Bruno Senna for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, with the team finally confirming this week’s worst-kept secret overnight.

“Bruno will attend the Official FIA Press Conference tomorrow at 15.00. A press release with further details on the matter will be issued tomorrow morning,” a brief statement from the team reads.

With there being few opportunities for the experienced German to remain in Formula 1 next year, the news will effectively bring down the curtain on a career that began in the 2000 season with Prost.

Drafted in at the eleventh hour to replace the injured Robert Kubica at the start of the season, he peaked with an excellent podium result at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Subsequently, he has struggled to meet Renault’s expectations – particularly with respect to his qualifying speed.

The driver switch is believed to have come about following a period of intense negotiation between the respective parties representing Heidfeld and Renault over the last two days, and it can obviously be assumed that the team has offered some sort of financial compensation to the German.

Even Senna’s berth could be short-lived, for it is well known that team boss Eric Boullier is looking to draft GP2 championship leader Romain Grosjean into the squad once that championship winds up at the next round at Monza.

Senna’s last race outing came at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing a largely inconclusive debut season with Hispania Racing. He joined Renault as once of several test drivers, and had a Friday practice outing in Heidfeld’s car at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

You can read more of our thoughts on this driver shake-up here.

[Original images via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.