Nick Heidfeld has settled his contract dispute with Lotus Renault out of court, and there’s no chance the German driver will be back in the seat of a Lotus Renault this season. Heidfeld was abruptly terminated by Lotus Renault following the Hungarian Grand Prix (where his car caught fire at pit exit, thanks to a broken exhaust), which breached the contract given to Heidfeld at the start of the 2011 season. Heidfeld was substituting for Lotus Renault driver Robert Kubica, who was critically injured in a rally car accident before the start of the 2011 F1 season.
Heidfeld is now free to pursue other interests (and other F1 rides), and ensures fans that he’ll be back in the drivers seat before long. Heidfeld was running 8th in drivers championship points at the conclusion of the Hungarian Grand Prix, but had no realistic chance at winning the title this year. His best 2011 finish came in Malaysia, where he finished third behind Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.
Heidfeld’s season went downhill from there, and his next best finish was a seventh place in the Turkish Grand Prix. He also had DNFs in Canada, Germany and Hungary, but managed to maintain a points lead over teammate Vitaly Petrov through the Belgian Grand Prix. Test driver Bruno Senna will run the second Lotus Renault car for the remainder of the 2011 F1 calendar.