Suzuka:Nick Heidfeld congratulated Sauber on Thursday for a deal that secured the team's Formula One future while ending his own hopes of racing for them next season.
Swiss-based Sauber had announced on Monday that 20-year-old Mexican Sergio Perez would be their second driver in 2011 at the start of a new partnership with telecommunications company Telmex.
Perez's appointment as team mate to Japan's Kamui Kobayashi dashed Heidfeld's hopes of prolonging a five-race deal after being called up to replace dropped Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa last month.
"I didn't know about it before I signed," the German, who started the season as Mercedes reserve before becoming tyre company Pirelli's test driver, told reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix.
"Obviously I knew there were things going on in the background... actually I didn't complain, quite the opposite I congratulated him (team boss Peter Sauber) because it's great news for the team, Formula One and especially the guys in Hinwil.
"I am very happy for them that they continue with a big Mexican partner, hopefully it secures the future and gives them the possibility to move further up (the standings) again.
"It's not so good for me, obviously," added the 33-year-old veteran of 171 races and seven years in total with Sauber.
"It's one place less but it's not a place that I took for granted. Some people might look at it, at least from what I've seen in the news, like I just came back and now have been kicked out again but that's not how it feels for me."
Heidfeld said he had a good feeling about next season and hoped to secure another slot on the starting grid, even if vacancies are limited.
"I think it will happen but until it is signed you can never be sure," he said.
"We are doing our best and it is looking positive, definitely... Obviously there is one seat less now but I think I am in a good position with the other teams remaining which still have a seat to offer."
Teams with possible openings include former champions Renault, Force India, Williams and Virgin Racing although all could decide to stick with their existing drivers.
First Published: Friday, October 08, 2010, 00:15