Nick Heidfeld's return to Formula One with the Renault team was confirmed on Wednesday as the injured Robert Kubica underwent further surgery following his rally accident in Italy.
Heidfeld was the frontrunner for the job after impressing Renault bosses during trial runs at the Jerez test last weekend although it's believed that Kubica wanted close friend Vitantonio Liuzzi to replace him.
Heidfeld said: "I would have liked to come back to Formula One in different circumstances, but I'm proud to have been given this chance.
"Everything has happened so quickly, but I've been very impressed by what I have seen so far in terms of the facilities and the dedication of the people at Enstone.
"I really enjoyed the test last week in Jerez and I've already settled in well with the guys at the track. I have a good feeling for the car, which is quite innovative. I'm extremely motivated and can't wait for the season to begin."
Kubica may be out for all of 2011 following his crash and Renault have moved quickly to fill the gap. Heidfeld, who was Kubica's team-mate at BMW Sauber for three years between 2006-09, was a leading candidate because of his experience although with 172 F1 race starts in 11 years, he is still to record his first grand prix victory.