BMW-Sauber: Nick Heidfeld Q&A 

Written by David on January 14th, 2008 at 2:58 pmLast Update: January 28th, 2008 at 11:11 am

Nick HeidfeldQ: What is your view of the new standard electronics? Nick Heidfeld: “That’s an incredibly complex matter and demands a great deal of engineering work. Banning traction control is just one aspect, after all, though one I very much welcome. I enjoy having gone back to controlling the car with my foot. It’s crucial when exiting corners: you need a great deal of sensitivity to accelerate optimally out of the turns…

For the established Formula One drivers it’s an adjustment, whereas the youngsters just coming from Formula 3 or GP2 have never driven with traction control. Another aspect is the tyre development, which has to keep in step with the electronic adjustment because increased slip takes a different and higher toll on the rubber.”

Q: Which changes to the regulations would you like to see? N.H: “Firstly, I would like to drive on slicks again. Secondly, as a racing driver you can never have enough engine power. The V10 engines of the past were more fun, but I do see the safety aspect and the sense in reining in the technical possibilities.”

Q: What does happiness mean for you? N.H: “I distinguish between professional and private happiness. Privately, my greatest happiness is Patricia, Juni and Joda. Children are simply the greatest thing you can have. We’re a proper family, and I would like to see our children grow up with us in the same free and happy way that I was able to. In professional terms, I regard myself as basically very lucky to be able to do the thing that above all I always wanted to. Today I’m in a better position than ever because at last I’m in a car with which I can drive up there among the front-runners.”

“That’s a great feeling. Also, I haven’t had as much bad luck as I used to and I’m very fit. Only if you’re in peak health can you prepare yourself optimally. That’s happiness as well – though sporting success in Formula One has little to do with happiness and more with precision work on and beside the track. But clutching a winner’s or championship trophy in my hands would certainly release quite a few happy hormones!”

Q: Do you ever feel fear? N.H: “Of course. Basically I’m sure that I’m afraid of the same things as every other person. Not that I’m in any way fearful in the sense of living an overcautious life. I don’t want our children to grow up like that either. In the race car there’s only one situation when I experience something like fear: if I’ve lost control and know I’m about to crash. That’s when you just hope it isn’t going to hurt and you take your hands off the steering wheel if you can.”

Q: Have you slowed down since your children came along? N.H: ”Oh yes! But only if the kids are in the car.”

Q: What is luxury for you? N.H: “First and foremost it’s things that I don’t need but that I enjoy. The latest mobile phone, clothes, cars etc. One luxury I can’t buy and really relish is free time. Privately, I just love to potter about. Sometimes I really get on the family’s nerves.”

Q: Do you have more fans than you used to? N.H: “I don’t really know precisely, of course. At any rate, I get more fan mail and there are more members in my fan club. In fact, I really enjoy the club. It’s just as I imagine it. I’m not an exotic you can’t talk to. We have fun together, it’s a relaxed atmosphere. We go karting together and party together. From time to time members will travel great distances to the races and turn up in China or somewhere. I think that’s fantastic.”

Q: Finally, what is your wish for 2008? N.H: “My wish is for us to achieve our season’s target this time round again and take home our first race win. Needless to say I want to be the driver standing up there on the top step of the podium. But the important thing first off is for us to get there as a team. Then I’ll seize my chance sooner or later.”

source: BMW Sauber

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