Interview with Nick Heidfeld

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Nick Heidfeld, it has to be said, is a bit of a revelation. On the surface he may seem like just a goody two-shoes, shy, boring even. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s easy to underestimate the man from Mönchengladbach. After he roared into the limelight in 2005 with two second-placed finishes and a pole position, he was hailed as the surprise of the season.

Nick Heidfeld

You like to go to races with your family. How important is their company?
"For me it’s a kind of morale booster – not so much at the circuit as in the evenings. It helps me switch off better. I’m always really pleased if somebody from the family – or Patricia – comes with me. But you have to remember that for them the days are pretty boring because I have so little time as a driver."

Will Patricia be joining you again with baby Juni?
"She’ll certainly be attending a few races, though not as many as in the past. Juni will travel with her but won’t be at the trackside. I don’t believe that’s the right place for a baby. Juni will be better off back in the hotel with her grandmother."

In what way has Juni changed your life?
"Hugely! Before she was born I talked to people who tried to explain to me what it’s like. But the reality has far exceeded anything you can imagine. For me it’s the most wonderful thing in the world to have a child like Juni. And we plan to have more kids. This hasn’t meant Formula One has become less important, but life has simply taken on another meaning. I also sense how I’m better at coming to terms with failures when I can go home to little Juni."

Is cycling still a hobby after your accident?
"Oh, definitely. I stopped cycling for a while because it took a long time for my shoulder to heal properly. And I prefer my mountain bike again rather than the racing bike. It’s more fun and also less dangerous riding it in traffic. Provided, of course, you don’t get too adventurous going downhill. I would enjoy that, but the risk of a tumble is too great."

What differentiates the Swiss and the Germans?
"In my view the Swiss are a little bit more reserved than the Germans. Other than that, as far as one can generalise at all, I think that a lot of what people say about the Germans applies to the Swiss as well. Things like punctuality and precision, for example."

Did you ever wish you were taller?
"If I had designed myself, I might have been a bit taller. But I’ve never been bothered by my height, and anyway in motor racing it gives you a certain advantage."

Are you a happy person?
"Yes, I am. Especially now with the family. Of course I’m not one hundred percent happy all of the time, but I don’t suppose anyone is. I believe you get used to everything – unfortunately the good things as well. And I also set myself goals which I want to achieve. First and foremost the World Championship."