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Kovalainen replaces Raikkonen

The Lotus team have now confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen will step into the car for the final two races of the Formula One season.

The 32-year-old Finn and former race winner with McLaren, will drive the car for the final two rounds of the Formula One World Championship at the United States and Brazilian Grand Prix's.

Lotus were forced to step into the driver market this week after outgoing driver Kimi Raikkonen informed Lotus team boss Eric Boullier that he was undergoing back surgery in order to be fully fit in time for his move to Ferrari.

Initial thoughts had been that Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi would get the nod, but as it transpired Lotus made two other moves before settling on Caterham's reserve driver Heikki Kovalainen.

The Lotus Formula One team, made two further approaches, one to Sauber for Nico Hulkenberg, with the German heavily linked with a move to Lotus for 2014.

The other was a shock move to bring seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher out of retirement.

With Sauber blocking the move and Schumacher rejecting the offer, Lotus contacted Kovalainen.

'Everything happened pretty quick to be honest. I was casually at home, I'd just got back from the running track and the phone rang.

'I flew to England [Wednesday] morning and spent most of the day at Enstone and did a couple of hours in the simulator to get a feel for some of the buttons and procedures that are in this car.

'We've managed to do quite a lot but whether it's enough or not we will find out.'
Kovalainen told Sky Sports.

Lotus are currently challenging for a top three finish in the FIA Formula One Constructors Championship and it became clear that the team felt that the best way to continue the challenge was to replace Kimi Raikkonen with an experienced driver.

Lotus are just 26 points behind Ferrari and 37 points behind second placed Mercedes, with a potential 86 points available.

He concluded: 'I'm sure they hired me exactly because of that and to be honest if I didn't think I could do it, I wouldn't have accepted it, Only time will tell how things go but I expect myself to perform well and I've been in Formula 1 long enough. And if I haven't driven this year, I still expect myself to perform well and hopefully at the very limit.'








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 15 2013

Time: 9:00AM

 

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