Nicks first teams in Formula One
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The hard way of a newcomer
Since 2000 Nick has been a regular driver in Formula One, although he had a long wait before being able to drive a competitive car. The situation in Alain Prost's team showed little promise and in 2001 he transferred to Peter Sauber's private team. His team-mate that year was Kimi Räikkönen, followed by Felipe Massa in 2002.

He surpassed both of them - and learnt how to live with the inevitable comparisons newcomers were subjected to: "If you're faster than some wunderkind, it's normal. If you're slower, you're an idiot. It's a no-win situation, so you just have to carry on working in a focused way."

It was with the Sauber team that he achieved his first podium place, in Brazil in 2001, and he remained with the team for three years. "It was a good time," says Nick, who now swapped his Monaco apartment for a house in Stäfa, Switzerland.

This old, lovingly restored house boasts modern artworks and a gym. It also offers plenty of opportunities for cycling in the surrounding countryside. Above all, Nick can lead a sheltered private life here, not to mention being only a relatively short distance from Zurich.

When his contract with Sauber was not renewed at the end of 2003, Nick just managed to climb on board at a late stage with the struggling Jordan team. One year later, he had an even more stressful time looking for a new stable.

Frank Williams wanted him, but took a long time deciding which of two candidates - Nick and Antonio Pizzonia - he would prefer to have as race driver and which as test driver. At the end of a shoot-out that had gone on for months, it was the German who eventually won the race seat in the BMW Williams F1 team, and over the course of the 2005 season also won the respect of Mario Theissen.

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