Nick Heidfeld has admitted he had to do some "intensive soul searching" before accepting Robert Kubica's drive at the Renault team.
Heidfeld has been hired by Renault to replace Kubica after the Pole was injured in a rally crash. The German driver was without a seat for 2011, and he conceded replacing an injured driver made him hesitate because of the poor circumstances. Heidfeld was Kubica's teammate at the BMW Sauber team from 2006 to 2009.
"I did some intensive soul searching – probably more intensive than most others would have done – and now I would say that I have cleared the situation for myself," Heidfeld told F1.com. "It was not my fault what happened to Robert and I truly wish he'll be back soon – that is one side. The other is that I had to grab the opportunity and feel happy to be driving again."
Heidfeld admitted, however, that it was an opportunity that he could not miss, even if he is unsure if he will see out the season.
"Whether it is for the whole season is not clear right now, but, of course, I am ready and available for the whole season! The biggest sensation is that I did not expect to race this year," he said. "The test season had already started, so I was in talks with Mercedes to get my old job from last year back, plus I had the option to sit in one of 'those' cars, which I still had no interest in.
"This chance came completely out of the blue. At the start of it there was definitely the emotional need to get my head clear because there was the emotional strain of coping with Robert's accident while knowing that this could be a chance for me.
"It was not an easy situation, but I had to take the chance that came my way. In my long years in Formula 1 I have made my own experiences. I only started to believe that I am in again when the ink on the contract had dried. Sure, I felt happy because it was so unexpected."