Heidfeld out to prove McLaren wrong

Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was clearly disappointed when McLaren opted for rookie team mate Kimi Raikkonen to replace Mika Hakkinen in 2003. Heidfeld, on a long-term contract with McLaren, had a good season last year after a less than optimistic...

Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was clearly disappointed when McLaren opted for rookie team mate Kimi Raikkonen to replace Mika Hakkinen in 2003.

Heidfeld, on a long-term contract with McLaren, had a good season last year after a less than optimistic debut with Prost in 2000. Peter Sauber didn't hesitate to take on the German for 2001 and his trust was rewarded with a podium in Brazil and Heidfeld finishing the season eighth in the Driver's championship with 12 points.

Given that he was McLaren's test driver in 1999, Heidfeld could be forgiven for hoping the Woking team would pick him for a race seat in 2002 after such a promising season; a season in which he out-performed Raikkonen. However, McLaren went for the Finn and now Heidfeld is out to prove them wrong.

"Kimi fitted McLaren's plans better than I did." He said. "But no one should forget that I scored more points than him in the 2001 World Championship. I out-qualified Kimi ten to seven and outscored him 12 to nine in world championship points. And now I may be able to prove to McLaren that they got the wrong guy."

Sauber's C21, the 2002 challenger, has been impressive in winter testing with Heidfeld behind the wheel and he has topped the time sheets on more than one occasion. New team mate Felipe Massa has also been fast and although Heidfeld doesn't think the team can battle it out with the likes of Williams, McLaren and Ferrari, Sauber are so far looking like a force to be reckoned with in the mid-field.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Felipe Massa , Peter Sauber
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams