Kovalainen to stand in for Raikkonen in final races

2013 F1 season

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, 2013Heikki Kovalainen will make his first F1 start in almost 12 months as a substitute for Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus this weekend.

Kovalainen, who lost his seat at Caterham at the end of last year, will also race for the team in the Brazilian Grand Prix next week. He has continued to drive for Caterham in practice sessions this year making a total of six appearances.

The news is a blow for Lotus’s third driver Davide Valsecchi, who has tested for the team twice this year but has been passed over for the drive.

Team principal Eric Boullier said they faced a “difficult decision” over who should substitute for Raikkonen.

“On the one hand we had our reserve driver Davide Valsecchi – who is a talented young driver that has shown a great deal of promise – and on the other we had the opportunity to bring in a seasoned Formula 1 competitor in Heikki.

“Whilst we have every faith in Davide’s abilities, we are obviously involved in a tight constructors’ championship battle, so it was decided that the experience Heikki could bring to the team would be invaluable as we aim to finish the year in the best position possible.

“We must thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 Team for their professional conduct in allowing Heikki to join us for the final races of this season.”

Kovalainen also added his thanks to Fernandes and said his return to racing with Lotus was a “fantastic opportunity”.

“We’ve seen this year that the E21 is a car which can win races and finish on the podium, so I will be pushing hard for the best results possible,” he said.

“Jumping into a car so late in the year when you have not been competing in the races all season will be a challenge, but I know the team at Enstone well so I have no concerns about getting up to speed.”

Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “We are pleased that we can help to give him the chance to race again in 2013.”

“He is a valued member of the Caterham family and we’re sure that he’ll do a good job in the USA and Brazil.”

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102 comments on Kovalainen to stand in for Raikkonen in final races

  1. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 14th November 2013, 15:22

    “Whilst we have every faith in Davide‚Äôs abilities …”

    If you had faith Eric, you would have given him the drive, no?

  2. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 14th November 2013, 15:30

    Eric Boullier has truly become the calimero of Formula one…

  3. magon4 (@magon4) said on 14th November 2013, 15:57

    I think he is a great driver and he will surprise us all with a podium finish.
    I said it first.

  4. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 14th November 2013, 16:10

    I sincerely hope Kova wins a race. He is a huge talent and a lovely guy. His time at McLaren was a poor indication of his ability do to the lack of confidence he was suffering from at the time, a lack of confidence which he admitted to afterwards. It takes a big person to do that.

    I hope he takes this opportunity with both hands and proves he deserves another chance in F1.

  5. Another talented racer out of Formula 1. Thanks, Lotus.

  6. Broc Smith (@strifeforce) said on 14th November 2013, 17:33

    As a die-hard Kimi fan i wish Kovy luck and hopefully Alan Permane won’t decide to scream at him at the end of the race.

  7. Everyone that wanted Heikki in and Grosjean out of Lotus at the end of last year got about 50% of their wishes fulfilled.

  8. Pablowski said on 14th November 2013, 18:09

    Really? Why don’t these people know when to hang up there helmet in the top flight of Motorsport and concentrate on making a successful career in another category?

    He did nothing in the sport. All he has now is that he didn’t have the confidence or wasnt prepared when he had the opportunity in a quick car like mclaren. If my work was rubbish for 2 years and I came off with excuses like that I wold be out the door! You have to make the most of these chances. Look at what others have done in this case, vet and ham comes to mind. He just clearly doesn’t have that little bit extra that these guys have to have to be truly successful. So why not accept that instead Of driving round to make up numbers and stealing someone else younger chances of a good drive.

    At least mclaren are willing to give young talent a go.


  9. Diceman (@diceman) said on 14th November 2013, 18:26

    Well I’m very happy for Heikki, he’s got nothing to loose here. But I do feel a bit sad for Valsecchi, he must be thinking what is the point in being Lotus’s reserve-driver. I really hope he gets his chance some day.

  10. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend) said on 14th November 2013, 18:36

    Kovalainen will do no better than Vallsechi or any other rookie would have done. Jumping in a new car half way through a season is a very difficult thing to do well. Just ask Pedro de La Rosa. Kovalainen is a second rate driver and everyone knows it, Lotus should have gone for the rookie.

  11. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 14th November 2013, 18:53

    Would this be the longest gap between races for a driver at the same team (Brazil 07 to US 13 = 2219 days)?

  12. valsecchi couldnt be considered an option under the given circumstances! people forget lotus wants/needs the points!!!
    and kovi wasnt that bad!
    on the other hand: i wished 3rd drivers had more time in the cars: one practice should be compulsory for third drivers!!!

  13. Bazza Spock (@bazza-spock) said on 14th November 2013, 20:58

    I would LOVE to see Heikki grab a couple of podiums out of this. There’s been a mini-Renaissance in talent over dollars in the last week or two and a couple of good results at short notice might benough for someone better than Caterham to take another look at KOV.

  14. Jack (@jmc200) said on 14th November 2013, 21:03

    The obvious choice. Fast and experienced. Hulkenberg for next year, COME ON LOTUS!

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