Nick Heidfeld will test for Renault at Jerez later this week as the team evaluates a replacement for the injured Robert Kubica.
The German has emerged as the leading contender to stand in for Kubica, who could be out for the remainder of the season as the result of the serious injuries he picked up in a rally crash over the weekend. Although Renault has five reserve drivers, and is giving its lead one, Bruno Senna, a first test in its car this week, the team has made no secret of the fact that it will need an experienced driver to lead its team if Kubica is sidelined for a long time, as now seems likely.
Heidfeld has held talks with Renault over the last 48 hours and an agreement has been reached for him to run at Jerez at some point this week. Vitaly Petrov will test, as originally scheduled, on Thursday and Friday before Senna and Heidfeld are given mileage over the weekend.
Renault team owner Gerard Lopez said earlier today that the team would wait until after testing before deciding on who will partner Vitaly Petrov this year – and indicated Heidfeld's chances will depend on how he compares pace-wise against Senna.
"We don't know yet if and when Robert will return. If it will be a long recovery and he will not be back this season, we need to rely on an experienced driver," he told IVG.it. "We must wait for the Jerez tests now – and thankfully the Barcelona ones, too – and see how the car is going.
Heidfeld was left without a seat after being replaced at Sauber at the end of last season by Sergio Perez, who brought valuable sponsorship backing from Mexico.