Honda F1 website

SEPTEMBER 15, 2005

Nick Heidfeld and the folk from Munich

Today is Battle of Britain Day, remembering a Anglo-Germanic conflict of years gone by. It is also the day on which Nick Heidfeld's option at Williams runs out and so all eyes have been on activities at Williams F1 where the team must decide whether or not to keep Heidfeld for 2006, as it is entitled to do so, if it chooses to go down that path.

Heidfeld's position is clear: he has a two-year deal in the bag from BMW for 2007 and 2008 and it makes no sense at all for the start of this arrangement to be delayed a year. He wants out and BMW want him to be in their new team. Heidfeld knows that the first year may be a bit rough but that afterwards the money and the engineering power of BMW should create a better situation if the company's expectations can be kept under control.

From the Williams point of view, letting Heidfeld go is necessary if the team wishes to be seen to be serious about keeping Jenson Button in 2006 and 2007. If the Heidfeld option is taken up and Mark Webber has a contract (which he does) then there would be no room at Williams for Button and that would send out all the wrong signals (and create lots of legal problems) in the ongoing Button-Williams relationship.

Williams is never going to be short of driving talent because it still has Antonio Pizzonia and Nico Rosberg on its books and could pick up one or two other very decent drivers if needs be. The team may be struggling at the moment but one must never underestimate a team that has won that many World Championships.

So what will happen?

Logic suggests that Heidfeld will be off to Munich on a three-year deal.