Kovalainen hoping for “smooth weekend” with Lotus

2013 United States Grand Prix

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Circuit of the Americas, 2013Heikki Kovalainen says he’s hoping for a smooth start to his two-race stint for Lotus in place of Kimi Raikkonen.

“It’s very difficult to say what to expect,” said Kovalainen, whose substitute role was announced earlier today.

“It’s a big uphill task but on the other end you know I wouldn’t have accepted if I didn’t think I was up for the job. Hopefully we have a smooth weekend, we can get up to speed relatively quickly and the work that I’ve done with Caterham this year hopefully that is at least some sort of baseline there for me to start working with the team, starting to race again basically.

“It’s very difficult to make any predictions and I don’t want to make any predictions but obviously having a smooth weekend, hopefully getting the maximum out of the team and out of the car, that will be a great achievement.”

“I think we only find out on Sunday evening how difficult it is and it was,” he added.

Kovalainen revealed Lotus first contacted him two days after Raikkonen declared he would not participate in the last two rounds of the season.

“I absolutely didn’t expect it to happen,” said Kovalainen. “It was a phone call on Tuesday evening that surprised everyone, I guess. [Team principal] Eric [Boullier] called me and was asking if I was available to race for the last two races.

“Obviously being on a contract with Caterham I could not straight away guarantee that I’m available and obviously prior the release from Caterham we had to wait, we didn’t have a lot of time. So it was quite exciting times but here we are and I’m really looking forward to the last couple of races with Lotus.”

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23 comments on Kovalainen hoping for “smooth weekend” with Lotus

  1. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 14th November 2013, 22:47

    kovalainen wants a “smooth weekend” shocking :O
    lol

  2. Ivan (@wpinrui) said on 14th November 2013, 23:02

    COME ON HEIKKI! Make the timing sheets explode!!!

  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica) said on 14th November 2013, 23:41

    It would be amazing if Heikki ends up winning the last two races or behind the Red Bulls. inb4hecrasheoutinbothraces

  4. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 14th November 2013, 23:49

    This is it for Heikki. In my opinion, it’s his last real chance to prove himself to everyone and back up what he says about being in the sport on talent alone without having to bring money. He needs to pull something spectacular off in the next two races (and have a bit of luck) if he has any hope of doing that.

    To add, I’m glad about the decision to bring him in – it’s alright people saying Valsecchi should have been given an opportunity, but try saying that in the team principle’s shoes in the current circumstances. I know who I’m backing for 2nd in the Constructors anyway!

    • Ben (@scuderia29) said on 15th November 2013, 5:10

      @electrolite its just no possible for him to go out and impress, he’s hasnt driven all year and now he’s jumping into another teams car that he’s never driven before and is expected to be on the pace? no no no, he’ll be fighting for a single point and thats the best he’ll be able to manage in my opinion. It wont mean he’s a bad driver, its just no platform to impress (hence why hulkenberg turned down the offer)

      • Hulkenberg turned down the offer b/c Ferrari loaned Sauber the money to pay him and bring up-to-date his contract, so Hulk would’ve been the one seeking to “break” a valid agreement in order to drive for Lotus, which was a much different legal situation.

        • Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 15th November 2013, 13:31

          That hasn’t been confirmed, it’s merely speculation. Rather tasty speculation at that and
          I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true. I do feel that this is Heikki’s chance to have a stab at showing his hand again. maybe not to the big teams as they’re no doubt uninterested regardless of his efforts but definitely for Caterham, he’s already in the mix for getting that seat back for next year and this could be the tipping point if he does well.

  5. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 14th November 2013, 23:54

    OK, realistictly speaking .. where could he end up on sunday? Behind Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso and Grosjean.. so 7th. Anything better would be impressive. Anything worse would be a dissapointment for Lotus, bot not supricing since it’s his first race this year. Lets wait and see. I hope he does well.

    • eskopeso said on 15th November 2013, 10:27

      I’d say 7th would already be pretty impressive, just look at Fisichella’s move to Ferrari at Monza 2009. Didn’t look too good even though he raced that season and almost won the previous race in a Force India.

    • maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) said on 15th November 2013, 11:21

      @me4me I think all Lotus can hope for is a points scoring position, that would be good. It’s very difficult to get into a strange Formula 1 car without any proper preparation and to be competitive. It’s one of the reasons why Hulkenberg didn’t want to risk it.

      I hope for him he can be competitive, but I wouldn’t keep my hopes up too much.

  6. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 14th November 2013, 23:54

    I wish him and Lotus well. Even with the way the Lotus/Raikkonen split ended up I hope Lotus scores as many points as they are able and find a way to get their finances together for 2014. F1 is better off with a thriving Lotus than without. Lotus with financial health will be able to sign Hulkenberg for 2014 and hopefully be competitive. On the other hand Maldonado and his sponsor money are lurking.

    Also, Kovalainen doing well would be some measure of redemption for him and who doesn’t like a good underdog story? In that vein, I hope Kovalainen does have a smooth weekend. Both Lotus drivers finishing in the points would be a worthy accomplishment.

    • @bullmello Also, Kovalainen doing well would be some measure of redemption for him and who doesn’t like a good underdog story?

      Not only that but how can one not enjoy listening to him describe the excitement of getting the phone call and then waiting for the OK from Caterham?

      “I absolutely didn’t expect it to happen,” said Kovalainen. “It was a phone call on Tuesday evening that surprised everyone, I guess. [Team principal] Eric [Boullier] called me and was asking if I was available to race for the last two races.

      “Obviously being on a contract with Caterham I could not straight away guarantee that I’m available and obviously prior the release from Caterham we had to wait, we didn’t have a lot of time. So it was quite exciting times but here we are and I’m really looking forward to the last couple of races with Lotus.”

      :)

      • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 16th November 2013, 1:19

        @joepa – So far, so good for Kovalainen. Sweet redemption, phase 1 complete. Decent qualifying and points await. With Raikkonen absent, I will be cheering for Kovalainen and Hulkenberg (as usual) this weekend.

  7. jihelle (@jihelle) said on 15th November 2013, 10:28

    It’s funny to see how Finnish drivers are often called as last minute replacements for injured drivers. Remember Mika Salo with Ferrari in 1999 after Schumacher broke his leg ? He almost won the German GP before being asked to let Irvine past. It was a shame as he never got such a chance again and Fast Eddie scuttled his opportunity to be world champion that year. I really hope Kovalainen the best. He deserves a drive next year and I hope his two GP for Lotus will lead to something more durable with Lotus or any other good team (he has done his share of driving back markers cars)..

  8. Win7Golf (@win7golf) said on 15th November 2013, 11:08

    Go Heikki ! I hope you do, at least as good as Romain and keep the seat for next year!
    No more paying drivers! Teams get sponsors and pay the drivers!
    We already have a shameful decision, by Red Bull bosses, choosing the Russian teenager for Felix da Costa… And they don’t need the petty cash he’s bringing, but need to keep the doors open to the biggest Russian market…
    And Sauber needs the money… and Force India needs the money… I wonder the Williams decision to sign Massa – he doesn’t bring money and Brazilian sponsor stop looking at Formula 1 after Senna… No that’s a team in desperately need of money to turn around and is keeping ‘home’ driver Bottas with Massa… I wonder if there aren’t more 71 year old Russians with millionaire parents around…
    Webber is right when he says: Driver market ‘unhealthy’…

  9. obviously said on 15th November 2013, 15:40

    Spectacularly unspectacular guy gets his hundredth chance to show what he can’t do.

  10. Slackbladder1 said on 15th November 2013, 21:40

    Drivers paying for rides is just going to continue the F1 slide into mediocrity and should be band, what next Bono driving for RedBull?

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