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Lopez surprised by Heidfeld reaction

ESPNF1 Staff
August 30, 2011 « FIA announces Monza double-DRS | »
Nick Heidfeld was the centre of much attention at Spa-Francorchamps © Sutton Images

Renault majority shareholder Gerard Lopez says he has been surprised by Nick Heidfeld's reaction to be dropped by the team.

Heidfeld was replaced by Bruno Senna for the Belgian Grand Prix and Senna will stay in the car for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza as well. The intention is for him to remain with Renault for the rest of the season but the team has been unable to confirm his seat as Heidfeld has lodged legal proceedings in an attempt to regain his place. A hearing will take place on September 19, but Lopez said it's a case of Heidfeld letting his emotions get the better of him.

"I was surprised," Lopez told the Tageblatt Luxembourg. "I would say it is an emotional reaction. His performance was not right so we need to test other drivers. Nick has always been a good colleague but we told him that we had not from him what we had expected. He was always treated with respect and that will continue, because he is still a member of the team."

In a statement on Friday, Heidfeld expressed his own surprise of how the situation had unfolded.

"I was surprised by the team's intention to replace me and regret that things have developed this way," Heidfeld said. "I just wanted to be in the cockpit to get the best result for the team and me. I still have a clear contract and I want to drive."

Heidfeld also told the BBC that he felt he had a strong case that would allow him to return.

"I cannot be very specific as something is pending. It's disappointing not to be here as a race driver but that is the situation at the moment and I have to live with that. If we would not be confident that we have a case here, we wouldn't follow it up and yes, I believe this is the situation. I have a good feeling inside the team. People like me. I've worked with the team for over a year and always enjoyed working with them."