Lotus selects experienced Kovalainen to replace Raikkonen for final two races

14 November, 2013

Heikki Kovalainen with Eric Boullier

Heikki Kovalainen with Eric Boullier

Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen [32] will join Lotus F1 Team for the final two races of the 2013 season as a stand-in for regular race driver Kimi Räikkönen, who is currently undergoing back surgery.

Heikki – a veteran of 109 grand prix starts – has previously driven for Renault F1 Team, McLaren, and Caterham F1 Team. Over the course of his six seasons in Formula 1 to date, Heikki has scored 105 World Championship points.

He has qualified on the front row five times, taken one pole position at the 2008 British Grand Prix, achieved two fastest laps and finished on the podium four times; including victory at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Prior to racing for Lotus F1 Team in its former guise of Renault F1 Team in 2007, Heikki performed various test duties for the squad from 2004 – 2006. He completed his seat fitting at Enstone on Wednesday 13th November, before proceeding directly to Austin to join up with the race team.

Heikki Kovalainen won the 2008 Hungarian GP

Heikki Kovalainen won the 2008 Hungarian GP

Eric Boullier, Team Principal, Lotus F1 Team: “Obviously we had to move quickly following the news of Kimi’s non-participation in the final two races of this season, and we found ourselves facing a difficult decision in terms of who should take the wheel in Austin and São Paulo.”

“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.”

Heikki Kovalainen on FP1 duty for Caterham in Bahrain

Heikki Kovalainen on FP1 duty for Caterham in Bahrain

Heikki Kovalainen, Race Driver, Lotus F1 Team: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for the final two races of 2013. 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.

“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. This is a great opportunity for me, so I would like to thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 Team for allowing me to take advantage of it.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team: “We were asked by Lotus F1 Team if we could release Heikki from his contract with us for the final two races of 2013 and 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. (Lotus)

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  • iceman 2.0

    Being a reserve is just like being an intern with no hope whatsoever.

  • MAD EEVE

    Hmm hopefully he wont do Luca Badoer did in 2009 in a Ferrai.

  • Virender

    @MAD EEVE.. Exactly, Heikki is prone to spin and all other crazy stuff.. Lets just hope he hold his nerve on this oppurtunity and Grab it this as window to 2014 and future.. Good Luck Mate

  • McLarenfan

    Heikki take that car and show them you still have speed and you can cut it at the sharp end of the grid this is an opportunity in a fast car to show what you have!!!

  • Peter

    Hekki is not in a form good for Lotus. My believe that Valchecci was a better choice because he raced here before and won both times.
    Hekki never scored point for years so why a believe in it now?
    Poor management. Period.

  • MAD EEVE

    @peter then again we wont know until we put him in a race winning car. who knows he might actually perform. Yet again he is not used to the car like kimi or Roman. So anyones guess.

  • Mofombo

    Done before he starts. Wish him luck as I would love to see lotus do well but that is not the right choice.

  • Spartacus

    Heikki always impressed at the Race Of Champions.

  • Riik

    A finn for a finn… a new saying perhaps?

    But in all seriousness, I think this is Kovalainen’s chance to show just how good a driver he actually is. At McLaren, he was overshadowed by Hamilton; at Lotus/Caterham, he was more or less forgotten on account of fighting at the back of the grid. His performance against Grosjean is in my opinion make-or-break for proving whether or not he deserves a future in F1. This is his chance.

  • McLarenfan

    After being thrown in the deep end at Renault in a car fit for the junk yard with Fab doing a voo doo number on him then chucked in to a Mclaren out classed and out raced by Hamilton Caterham gave him the chance to recover his mojo. All of a sudden he was the talk of the pitlane how well he was driving the Caterham out classing and racing Petrov all teams were looking at him then Wham we need money see ya.
    But he still came back and worked on and for Caterham developing the car giving vital data now he has a chance with a car he hasn’t driven hasn’t had set up for him over many races lets give him a chance!

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