Heidfeld is still a relative newcomer to Formula1, following a disappointing debut year
with Prost Grand Prix. The young German was highly regarded following his F3000
championship win and time spent testing with McLaren in 1999. However, his star has waned
slightly following his time with Prost.
The former Prost driver found his time there difficult for many reasons. The AP03 was
acknowledged to be difficult to drive, and the reliability problems that the team
experienced did not allow either driver the opportunity to score any World Championship
points. He also had trouble settling with the team, and two collisions with his
experienced team mate, Jean Alesi, did not help improve the atmosphere in the pits.
His decision to move to Sauber was greeted with delight by the team's boss, Peter Sauber,
and already he appears happier with his new employer. He appears to have settled well with
the team, perhaps partly because they converse in his native tongue, and has been
extremely positive in his appraisal of the new car.
He spent some time at the top of the time sheets in testing during December, with the old
car, which delighted him and he is facing 2001 with an air of renewed optimism.