Lotus set to announce Kovalainen as Raikkonen replacement for USA and Brazil

Heikki Kovalainen back in action for a top team

Heikki Kovalainen back in action for a top team

Lotus is poised to announce Heikki Kovalainen as the short term replacement for surgery sidelined Kimi Raikkonen for the last two races of 2013.

It emerged earlier that the Enstone based team, despite having last year’s GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi as its reserve driver, had made an offer to Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg turned it down, but it was a clear sign that Italian Valsecchi was not in fact the obvious favourite for the role, as Lotus tries desperately to improve its position in the lucrative constructors’ championship despite Raikkonen’s exit.

Team boss Eric Boullier told the Italian website blogFormula 1.it: “We are fighting for third place in the constructors’ championship so we need a driver with experience who is used to the struggle of winning points.

Heikki Kovalainen on FP1 duty for Caterham in Abu Dhabi

Heikki Kovalainen on FP1 duty for Caterham in Abu Dhabi

“I’m not saying that Davide doesn’t deserve a chance, because he has done a great job and we are pleased with him. But he lacks the experience,” Boullier added.

Sources within Lotus claim Kovalainen will shortly be announced by Lotus as Raikkonen’s replacement for the last two grands prix of 2013.

“Heikki has been waiting for something like this,” fellow Finn Mika Salo told MTV3 this week, “and if I was a team boss, I would take him rather than Valsecchi.”

Kovalainen made his grand prix debut as a Renault driver in 2007 – when the team was run from the same Enstone factory – and since then he has made 109 Formula 1 race starts. He scored his one and only grand prix victory in Hungary in 2008 driving for McLaren.

His last grand prix was in Brazil in 2012, driving for Caterham for whom he has done FP1 duty on several occasions this year. (GMM)

  • Butterfly

    Wouldn’t it be nice for Heikki to come back, bam, win the race. He’s got the car to do it.

    It would be nice. I bet that would make Hulkenberg regret turning down Lotus for these two races.

    One can dream…

  • Bub

    It’s going to be hard to take 3rd place from Ferrari though. Lotus need an average 2nd and 3rd place finish in each race with the Red Cars finishing an average 5th and 6th, to just pip them. Not impossible, but hard.

    Vettel will win in C.O.T.A. of course. As for Interlagos…..who knows?

  • McLarenfan

    @ Butterfly I agree it would be a perfect don’t forget me !!!!

  • captain tortuga

    @ bub : I hope Webber will take it at interlagos, should be possible, because it is a very short lap, so the difference between him and vettel should be minimal..

    For the rest, i dont mind at the moment, if vettel takes 9 on a trot.. thats fine.. i cannot be bothered less, though it would be a pleasant surprise to see some other win a GP (Grosjean, Massa, Webber, Ham/Ros.. doesn’t matter actually haha)

  • Fritzo

    Excellent choice. May he show everybody he deserves a full time seat for 2014. Showing Caterham they where idiots to drop him in 2013. He will do well.

  • Empee

    “Showing Caterham they where idiots to drop him in 2013.”

    Except they’re not in denial of this. Management has all but admitted in interviews that going double-pay driver this season was a mistake, and at the moment, neither Pic or van der Garde are locks to return.

  • Kimi4WDC


    been dreaming that for two years, yet Lotus keep messing up every time they get close. Gave up.

  • Bub

    @ captain tortuga: Yes! Let us pray to the Gods of Speed that someone apart from Vettel will win at Interlagos.

    Anyone…..even P. Maldonado!