Budapest: Nick Heidfeld is ready to fight for his drive with Renault as he prepares for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, where the French team is looking to turn its fortunes around.
Renault team principal Eric Boullier criticized his team's disappointing performance since the start of the season, when Heidfeld became a last-minute recruit to replace the injured Robert Kubica.
Heidfeld crashed out of last weekend's German GP and hasn't finished higher than eighth over the past six races. But the German driver believes his seat is merited despite reserve driver Bruno Senna getting the nod to fill in for one of Friday's practices.
"I'm happy with where I am with the team. Bruno getting a drive doesn't mean he's going to get my seat," Heidfeld said Thursday from the Hungaroring circuit.
"We've had some very good performances but we've also had races where we had problems. Overall I think I did well but not always in qualifying where we couldn't manage our maximum potential."
Renault is fifth in the constructors' championship behind leader Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes. Since back-to-back third-place finishes by Vitaly Petrov and Heidfield to open the season, neither driver has been able to get close to the podium.
"I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not satisfied with where we are, no one in the team is," Boullier said after Germany. "We started the season well, but that feels like a while ago now and we have to face the facts, which are that we've been off the pace and we are trying hard to put that right."
Heidfeld was confident of a race seat in 2012 and the 34-year-old driver was "keeping his eyes open" with his contract coming to an end at the close of the season.
"It's not a perfect season so far but it is enough to fight for a seat next year," Heidfeld said.
Petrov was enjoying the role reversal from last season when the Russian came under pressure with Kubica performing better.
"I was like this last year so now he can take my side," said Petrov, who trails Heidfeld by two points in the drivers' standings.