Heikki Kovalainen looks set to replace Kimi Raikkonen for the remaining two races of the 2013 Formula One Season at Lotus F1 Team.
The move is due to F1’s biggest rebel (conveniently) having back surgery. The convenience of course is that the Iceman had threatened his cash-strapped Enstone team with the notion of missing the last two races anyway, due to not being paid a single Euro all year.
The 2007’s World Champion’s threat was perhaps legitimate, and it’s entirely plausible that the non-mandatory surgery is just a facade for his frustration with the team. We must not discount the equally real possibility though, that Kimi really does need this surgery and wants to be in the best shape possible for his second bite at the Ferrari cherry next year.
Heikki last raced in F1 for the Caterham team in 2012, who have also gone by the name Lotus in the past, so to aid any confused viewers, no, you’re not watching the 2011 season. It’s also noteworthy that this is technically the team that Heikki started his career with, although at the time they were known as Renault.
Other drivers linked to the position were in-demand (and personal favourite of mine) Nico Hulkenberg, but he decided not to confuse his future further by signing for the team that chose pay driver Maldonado over him for next year.
Oddly, Michael Schumacher was asked if he would step in as well, but the German has retired enough times already, and though he would arguably be fit enough to take on the role, he rather likes his pipe and slippers.
WILLIAMS OPTS FOR BRAZILIAN
In other news, Williams have announced that another Finnish driver, Valtteri Bottas, will remain in F1 for another season, and will be partnered by 2008 F1 Runner Up Felipe Massa after his 8-year stint bathing in the red glow of the Ferrari family.
Massa believes he’s still every bit as good as he was when he narrowly missed out on that Championship back in 2008, and joins a long list of succesful Brazilian drivers at Williams, including Rubens Barrichello, Bruno Senna, and his uncle Ayrton whose time at the team was tragically cut short.
SERGIO TO SERGI-GO
McLaren’s Sergio Perez is to part ways with the team after just a single season, with the Mexican failing to adjust to the team after what has been a trying year. Petulant streaks in Bahrain (where he famously clashed with his team mate) and a few ill-advised incidents elsewhere have made ‘Checo’ seem a bit too big for his boots after the switch from plucky underdogs Sauber, to high-flying McLaren.
The team have not been anywhere near competitive this season and it’s unlikely that this is the reason for his departure, but for whatever reason, the entities appear to have parted, albeit on good terms. His future is uncertain for now, but a move back to Sauber might not be a million miles away.
Kevin Magnussen looks like he will replace the current McLaren number two, although this has not yet been confirmed. The Dane’s (Kevin Magnussen) father drove a single race for McLaren back in 1995 when Mika Hakkinen had his Appendix removed at the Pacific Grand Prix, and finished a decent 10th place, but in old money, that doesn’t score you any points. Papa Magnussen has won the GT1 class of Le Mans 4 times though, so clearly there is petrol in the veins of the 21-year old.