11-year veteran of Formula One Nick Heidfeld has left Renault by mutual consent and with immediate effect. He has been replaced by Brazilian driver Bruno Senna, who will race alongside teammate Vitaly Petrov for the rest of the 2011 season.
Heidfeld, 34, who replaced Robert Kubica following the Pole's near-fatal rally accident, believed he was contractually obliged to complete the season. However, a High Court ruling meant that Renault and Heidfeld were able to reach a settlement.
The Belgium Grand Prix proved to be the turning point for Hedifeld and Senna. As Senna acquitted himself relatively well, Heidfeld found himself relegated to the position of reserve driver with little chance of any driving on the horizon. This week's announcement, that the team and Heidfeld have parted ways, is no real surprise
"Our disagreement with Nick has been the subject of much media coverage lately, and we are pleased to have reached a swift and reasonable solution” said team boss Eric Boullier.
“Our separation process was already a painful one, and neither of us wanted to go through another legal hearing. 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."
Both Boullier and Gerard Lopez, the majority owner of Lotus Renault GP, have dismissed rumours that the decision was influenced by the potential sponsorship generated by the nephew of the late and much-missed Ayrton Senna. A more widely accepted reason, though, is that the team has simply lost faith in Heidfeld, despite his consistent ability to earn points.
"Obviously I'm disappointed to be leaving Lotus Renault GP in the middle of the season” Heidfeld said.
“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. One thing is for sure - I'll be back racing at the highest level soon."
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