Nick Heidfeld has parted ways with Lotus Renault GP after both parties agreed to an “amicable settlement” in the wake of the German lodging an appeal over being dumped from the team’s driver line-up for last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix in favour of Bruno Senna.
The team also confirmed that Senna will remain in the cockpit for the rest of the season.
The 24-year-old and the team chose to part ways “with immediate effect” – as a jointly-issued statement reads – with Renault team boss Eric Boullier describing the agreement as “swift and reasonable”.
“Our separation process was already a painful one, and neither of us wanted to go through another legal hearing,” he added.
“We’re very grateful to Nick for the highly valuable contribution he’s made to the team. We certainly had good times together, in particular remembering our podium finish in Malaysia. He is a very strong and determined racer and we wish him every success in the future.”
Heidfeld added: “Obviously I’m disappointed to be leaving in the middle of the season.
“I thought I could still make a big contribution to the team, but I have to see things as they are and I want to turn my attention to the future.
“We have taken the right decision by choosing to end our collaboration today. I would like to wish all the friends I made at Enstone a successful end to the season. One thing is for sure – I’ll be back racing at the highest level soon.”
Despite his protestations to the contrary, the move all but finishes Heidfeld’s lengthy (and winless) Formula 1 career, which began in the 2000 season when he debuted with the Prost team.
Heidfeld’s F1 tenure of 183 Grands Prix without a win is the second-longest winless run of any F1 driver after Andrea de Cesaris, who contested 208 Grands Prix without ever gracing the top step of the podium.
It is widely believed that the German will join BMW’s return to the DTM championship in 2012.
[Original image via The Cahier Archive]