Heidfeld wins Formula 3000 title but where will he drive?

NICK HEIDFELD won the International Formula 3000 Championship last weekend in Budapest but the young German does not appear to have much hope of a Formula 1 drive next season. There have been all manner of rumors suggesting that Mercedes-Benz will supply teams with its engines if they run Heidfeld but there is nothing we have heard which suggest that any of these stories are true. McLaren might wish to place Heidfeld in an F1 operation - just as Ricardo Zonta has been placed with British American Racing - but there are not many opportunities available in the paddock at the moment, except with teams at the back of the grid.

Heidfeld did have long discussions about a job with Jordan but it now seems that Jarno Trulli will get that job and with Jean Alesi expected to replace Trulli, Mika Salo expected to replace Alesi and Rubens Barrichello expected to replace Salo, and Barrichello being replaced by Irvine there are no gaps in the middle-ranking teams. Arrows might be a possible destination but Olivier Panis is still looking for work and there have been intense negotiations between Panis - who is now managed by Keke Rosberg - and Tom Walkinshaw. There might be a second seat available at Prost but this is likely to go to test driver Stephane Sarrazin.

Benetton, Williams and British American Racing are expected to keep the same drivers next year which means that Heidfeld could end up with nothing better than a Minardi deal. The alternative is for Nick to head to the United States of America where there are a number of good opportunities opening up in CART racing.

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