Renault have announced that Nick Heidfeld will test for them at Jerez later this week as the team begins it's evaluation of suitable candidates to replace the injured Robert Kubica.
Over the past 48 hours, the German has emerged as the leading contender to stand in for Kubica, who could be out of action for the rest of the season following the injuries he sustained as a result of his crash during a rally last weekend.
Despite unveiling five reserve drivers in Valencia last week, Renault has made no secret of it's desire to see a more experienced driver get the drive. Bruno Senna is the team's leading reserve driver but his single year experience with HRT in 2010 has not been enough to convince Renault bosses that he is a sound investment if Kubica is absent for a long time.
With over 150 grand prix under his belt, Heidfeld's experience has paved the way for an agreement to be reached for him to drive at Jerez over the next four days. Vitaly Petrov will, as originally scheduled, run on Thursday and Friday, before Senna and Heidfeld continue over the weekend.
"We must wait for the Jerez tests now, and thankfully the Barcelona ones too, and see how the car is going, and how the driver - who will start the season and maybe ending it too - is doing. We don't know," Renault team owner Gerard Lopez told IVG.it
"There are drivers who have had good races, for example Nick Heidfeld. We all know that Nick is rather good, but we don't know what level he is at now, we don't know how he does with our car. Same goes for Vitantonio Liuzzi, same goes - I don't know -for Bruno Senna, who last year was in a team with a car that could do nothing."
Since Sauber dropped him at the end of last year in favour of the heavily sponsored Sergio Perez, Heidfeld has been without a drive though has undertaken some testing work for sole tyre supplier Pirelli.