Nick Heidfeld born on May 10th, 1977 in Monchengladbach, Germany, and currently resides in Stafa in Switzerland with his partner Patricia and their daughter Juni and son Joda.
Nick started in motor racing in 1988, following the regular karting route to single seaters, which Nick reached by 1994. Heidfeld found great success in the series winning eight of the nine races and took the title in magnificent style. 1995 also proved to be a successful year and Heidfeld won the German International Formula Ford 1800 Championship, and at the same time he came second in the Zetec Cup. Things were progressing quickly for Heidfeld, and in 1996 he competed in the German International Formula 3 Championship, and Nick finished third overall after claiming three victories. The following year Nick won the title, including a race victory at Monaco. 1998 saw Nick compete in European Formula 3000 Championship with the West Junior Team. Nick drove well and came close to winning the title, but bigger things were on the horizon for Heidfeld, and 1998 also marked his debut in a Formula One car when he became a test driver for McLaren. Nick finally won the Formula 3000 Championship the following year, and this led to a drive with the newly formed Prost Formula One team.
2000 marked Nick’s competitive debut in Formula One, partnered with race winner Jean Alesi in the all-French team, ran by four times world champion Alain Prost. Unfortunately, the car was not all that competitive, and Heidfeld fell out with his team mate and the team. By the end of the year, Nick had signed a multi-year deal with Sauber and departed Prost vowing never to return to the team.
2001 Nick was partnered at the Swiss team with rookie Kimi Raikkonen. The Sauber was a reasonable car and the season started well. Despite the lack of funds in the team, Heidfeld was able to score 12 points over the course of the season to finish 8th overall. However, with the announcement of Mika Hakkinen’s retirement, many felt that Nick would be bought out of his contract and hired by McLaren. However, much to Nick’s disappointment, the Woking-based team hired Raikkonen instead, and Nick remained at Sauber for 2002 and 2003.
After two troubled years which saw the Sauber team slowly fall down the grid, Nick was dumped by the team and appeared to struggle to find a drive for 2004. However, Eddie Jordan welcomed the talented German into his team, and although his cars were no more competitive than Sauber’s, it was a drive and he managed to remain employed.
In fact, the 2004 season was to be one of Nick’s worst, only scoring 3 points from the 18 races, but a test with Williams towards the end of the year seemed to be a step in the right direction. In a shootout with Antonio Pizzonia, Heidfeld comfortably beat his Brazilian rival and at Williams’ launch in January 2005, it was announced that Heidfeld would be driving for the team in the upcoming season.
2005 was to be one Nick’s most successful campaigns, and in front of a home crowd in Germany, Heidfeld took pole position in his Williams. The year also bought a podium with a second place in Monaco and also at Nurburgring. The season was called to an abrupt halt for Heidfeld though, when a testing shunt forced Nick to sit out the Italian and and Belgian Grands Prix. Just before his scheduled return date at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Nick was hit by a motorbike while he was out riding his push bike in a training session. This forced Nick to sit out the rest of the season and instead watch his replacement compete in his place.
2006 proved to be an interesting year, and one that Nick will not forget for a long time. Heidfeld switched from Williams to BMW – who had just bought the Sauber team. Although the team would be new, they were ambitious and hired the services of the 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve to partner Nick. The BMW engine was considered to be one of the best in Formula One, and Nick accrued 23 points during the year to place him 9th overall. Nick achieved a podium alongside maiden Grand Prix winner Jenson Button in Hungary.
Heidfeld continued with BMW for 2007, and was to be partnered by Poland’s Robert Kubica, who replaced Jacques Villeneuve part way through 2006. The pair worked well at developing the BMW chassis and the car steadily improved throughout the season. By the final race Heidfeld had accrued 61 points and finished in a respectable 5th in the championship – his most successful season to date. Nick regularly finished in the points and claimed three podium during the campaign. However, teammate Robert Kubica started to challenge Heidfeld towards the end of the season and and Polish driver finished just behind in sixth place in the final standings.