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Heidfeld replaces De la Rosa at Sauber

Heidfeld began the season as a test driver for Mercedes and also worked for Pirelli.
Heidfeld began the season as a test driver for Mercedes and also worked for Pirelli.
  • Nick Heidfeld joins Sauber for the rest of the 2011 Formula One season
  • Heidfeld replaces Pedro de la Rosa, who is 'surprised' by the decision
  • Heidfeld began season as test driver for Mercedes before joining Pirelli

(CNN) -- German driver Nick Heidfeld has replaced Pedro de la Rosa at Formula One team Sauber for the rest of the season.

The 33-year-old, who drove for Sauber from 2001-03 and again from 2006-09, will take over from the Spaniard for the next race in Singapore and the four following races.

"I'm looking forward like crazy to having the opportunity to go racing again in a good car in Formula One from the Singapore Grand Prix onwards," said Heidfeld in a statement on the Sauber website.

"After the last months I'm even more motivated than ever. For me it is like coming home, as I raced for seven years in total for the team from Hinwil."

Heidfeld began the season at Mercedes as a test driver for Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg before leaving to work with tire manufacturer Pirelli.

De la Rosa has been dropped after only managing to score six points so far this season. Sauber's other driver, Japan's Kamui Kobayashi, has 21 points.

"I am surprised by the team's decision, but I respect it and would like to wish everyone good luck for the remainder of the season," said De la Rosa, who vowed to continue in the sport next season.

Heidfeld has posted 12 podium finishes in 167 Grand Prix since making his debut with the Prost team in 2000.

"It was a hard decision for me to make as a Team Principal and I want to thank Pedro for his professionalism," said team principal Peter Sauber.

"By signing Nick we have a driver we know extremely well who will help us to further judge the comparative potential of our car."