Kovalainen deal close

Just boarding the flight to the States and the question of the second Lotus remains open, with Lotus waiting for Caterham to release Heikki Kovalainen. That’s seems the most likely scenario with only a day and a half before the decision must be made. If that fails Davide Valsecchi might still get the drive, but Lotus wants to beat Ferrari, and Kovalainen offers a better potential.

114 thoughts on “Kovalainen deal close

      1. my guess is… Maclaren! yes next season it will be Maclaren Mclaren Mercedes, to tie in with a range of hybrid turbo baby buggies. perfect brand synergy there.

      2. Haha! I should have phrased the question better. Are you able to tell us who you think it is, and if so, who do you think it is?

        1. Prior to the Vodaphone announcement in 2005 there were lots of rumours about Intel and Sony, so rumours of Samsung sound similar.

          McLaren keep this information very tight, so you’re doing very well to know in advance, Joe. The majority of factory staff didn’t have any inkling about Vodaphone, before the announcement.

          On the run-up to the Vodaphone reveal, the paint shop in MTC was like Area 51. ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. I look forward to the near future, when you can tell the full story.

              Shame you (presumably) can’t take pre-orders on the 2007 Ferrari/McLaren/FIA/Renault book, I’d sign up for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. My bet would be on a GSK brand or a P&G one, they both already have an interest.
        Jenson may just have to have to be clean shaven at all times for the foreseeable ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I’ve heard the GP2 brazilian driver Felipe Nasr has offered Lotus a large amount of money to race in Texas and Sรฃo Paulo. Do you know anything about it?

    1. Maybe he did but I don’ think that is happening. However, I have just arrived in Austin. It is after midnight so I am not exactly on the phone checking

      1. I even heard a rumour they (Lotus) asked Michael Schumacher. Do you believe that? It also said he had declined of course. But would they be so desperate?

      2. Very wise. I once got off a transatlantic flight late at night and checked my phone. Voicemail from the wife “I’m locked out of the house”.

        Right, and I can do *what* about that from here…?

        1. Apparently women do not want us to fix things, which is what we do, instead they want sympathy and empathy. Strange isn’t it?

          1. My sympathy and empathy might have been limited by the fact I was checking into a very nice hotel and getting upgraded.

    1. If I were Kovalainen I would relish the opportunity to show what I could do in a car capable of reaching top 10. No matter the money, quite frankly. I would drive for free if Lotus gave me the chance to be competitive for the first time in ages, and see it as a investment in my future.

      But that’s just me.

      1. Nah, He’s said he’s there for 2 races only, I’d be patting Boulier down for the cash.
        After all, golf is an expensive pastime ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Joe, Kovalainen seems like a good choice. However, with Valsecchi as Lotus reserve driver – doesn’t it make a mockery of that very term? A reserve driver without any F1 experience… no testing mileage available… strange times!

  3. Lotus should def hire Kovalainen for 2014. Hulkenberg lacks the experience, podiums and wins: All the things that Kovalainen has. Kovalainen is used to and highly experienced with Renault engines and he already knows most of the people working for Lotus. As the Lotus is experiencing difficulties to pay its drivers this year this will def leave its marks when it comes to negotiating with drivers such as Hulkenberg (already having difficulties with his payments from another team at the moment). Kovalainen would prob ask around 1 to 4 million euros plus bonuses which Lotus can handle. And he is a Grand Prix winner and highly respected for his professionalism and talents. if Kovalainen does a good job in these two GP’s Lotus should immediately hire him for 2014 season.

    1. Hulkenberg, I suspect, probably knows more about the situation that you or I, or even Joe. It would appear that Lotus are swaying toward signing Maldonado for 2014, so why would Hulkenberg undermine his chances of staying with at least Suaber by ditching them to take 2 races in a strange car at short notice? He’ll have a better chance of impressing just by staying with the Swiss team.

      1. There are times when you would be surprised at what the drivers know or do not know. They tend to have to react to circumstances.

  4. Great news for Kovi. Would be even better if he got a drive for next season out of it. How would you rate his chances?

  5. If Kovalainen moves to Lotus for Austin and Brazil, would that mean Rossi would move up to a race seat? I know he’s had a little Friday practice time so I’m guessing he already has his SuperLicense.

    1. Why would Caterham race Rossi? They already have two race drivers, GVDG and Pic….. neither of them are leaving the team, so why would Rossi replace any of them? Kov is the reserve driver for Caterham, not a race driver….

    2. Why would Rossi move up to a race seat? Kovalainen hasn’t been racing all season for Caterham, since their race drivers are Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. I see no particular reason why they would lose their race seat as Caterham’s Friday test driver (i.e. Kovalainen) move to a Lotus race seat. Do please keep up!

      1. What does it say about Pic and VDG’s driving skill that their reserve driver is being tapped for a podium-quality drive at Lotus? It says that it’s the end of the season when it’s ‘all change’ and drivers, teams and sponsors look for opportunities (e.g. Fisichella from a Force India into a Ferrari in 2009).

        Why would Rossi move to a race seat at Caterham? Because a) he’s an American and the race this week is in…wait for it… America and b) he just won the last GP2 round. It’s called marketing. Do please keep up.

        1. BothPic and VDG paid for their seats and as far as I am aware neither of the is behind on payments. So it would be quite strong feat for Caterham to move them out of the way now.

          Also I think nobody in their right mind is surprised that Kovalainen is rated higher than either Pic or VDG. I think everybody in their right mind agrees he easily outclasses both of them and the only reason he was out of a seat is that he couldn’t or wouldn’t provide the kind of cash that the other two provided. Therefore the fact that the “reserve” driver has been chosen for the Lotus-drive actually says nothing we didn’t already know.

          But nice safe!

  6. Hope Kovalainen can get some points and help Lotus beat Ferrari.

    Joe, another subject. It seems that the Russian money didn’t arrive yet at Sauber. There are some news here in Brazil about Felipe Nasr going there (was supposed to be reserve driver at Williams but now changed to Sauber drive seat). Do you know something about it?

    1. The normal race drivers will… obviously….. HK is the reserve driver, if you pay any attention to the season you will already know this?!

  7. hmmm and if they arn’t going to poach hulkenburg early, would that imply that the venezuelan proletariat’s money will soon be invested at enstone rather than grove?

    1. I think you are getting confused between the last two races of this year and next season. Maldonado is still the favourite

      1. If Pastor goes to Lotus next year could he bring PDVSA with him as they already get big bucks from Total, surely they wouldn’t want another oil company on the car? (Although Lotus did have Lotus, Renault and Lada at one point!)

        I’d be happy to see him there and without PDVSA because I genuinely believe he is a good driver, the money he brings damages his reputation and gets labelled a pay driver. He outperformed Rubens as a rookie which isn’t too bad in my book, beat Senna and has beaten Bottas (OK not by much) who was tipped as the next big thing.

        1. The chance of Maldonado getting the Lotus drive without the PDVSA backing is zero. The reason they (Lotus) haven’t announced Pastor for next year yet is they are still hoping for the big money deal to come off, if it does it’s Hulkenberg, if it doesn’t it will have to be Maldonado and his millions. You may rate him, but it seems the teams don’t.

  8. Seems a logical choice to me, I have been a fan of “team Enstone” since the Toleman days; to see then nick another place in the contsructors table would be ace, a real distraction from the “will they wont they” money moguls.

    1. >I have been a fan of โ€œteam Enstoneโ€ since the Toleman days

      You mean…there are -two- of us?!? {grabs pearls}

  9. Sorry for my ignorance – but we are talking about the final two races, right? Not next years seat?

    The more I read it the more obvious my above comment would seem

  10. A couple days ago you commented “I cannot see that happening” in regards to Heikki getting the Lotus drive. How fast things change in F1.

      1. Joe says “Lotus was for Valsecchi racing in Austin, until they were against it”. Sorry, American humor in honor of the USGP.

        ed. note: unless you followed 2004 US Presidential election this will make no sense

    1. ayeeyah, come on, things in f1 are constantly fluid until the official press release. give the guy a break! he (Joe) continues to post keeping the discussion going so lets not nitpick shall we?

      1. Thank you. What some people do not realise is that situations change and so if one is right on the pace, one will be a victim from time to time. You just have to accept it. The choice is either that, or not caring and not bothering until the press releases come out.

  11. Have a pleasant flight Joe.

    One has it wonder if Kovalainen is now a threat to Hulkenberg’s chances of landing a paid drive now, provided he scores decent points. I’ve a feeling that turning down these last two races might end up backfiring for Hulk, even though at the time it was the wise choice.

    Of the sponsored drivers, who is the bigger fish: Perez or Maldonado?

    5 competitive cockpits that we don’t know who’s name will be on the side of them, and 8 drivers in the shop front, now with Heikki shooting for the stars again.

    A few will be missing out!

  12. Experiencewise, Kova is a better hand, but looking back for late replacements in ongoing seasons, it’s kind of difficult to find much sucess. On the other hand, it look’s like third drivers are only good to pay for being some sort of walking hangers for teams outfit.

    1. agree heikki would be the best replacement and can imagine the nth hour tri partite negotiations across satellite phones going on as we type!

  13. Any chance of PDR taking Perez’s seat and Magnussen and Vandoornee both being put in gp2 and evaulating all 3 of them in a year??

    Need PDR to get to Mclaren!!!

    1. dont see PDR to mclaren! but what you said earlier could certainly happen, and i hope does (would love to see hulk at mclaren instead of a rookie). in fact given what was said earlier re oil sponsors, seems like the best solution for all.

  14. Joe, is it true that Ferrari paid Hulkenberg’s outstanding salary to prevent him from taking up the offer of a Lotus seat for the last two races this year?

  15. logical choice …they can’t afford to make a new seat for 2 races and they still have one of heikki’s in the corner of the workshop

  16. Seems to me that the two race seat for HK is just that – filling in for two races.
    Lotus need a young inspirational driver for 2014 and I think Hulk is the man. In terms of performance for 2014, taking Maldonado would be a backward step so it’s up to Boullier to prove to Hulk that Lotus can deliver on every level (financial and performance). Hulkenburg and Grosjean would be a great combo!

  17. its interesting that perez came out and confirmed his non-renewal. clearly he wants to maximise his time on the market whilst there are available seats, but perhaps he learnt a lesson from last year in terms of pr?

    also debunks mr Buxton’s very interesting theory re mexican slim $ pressure. that was a very enticing theory. still, there is no magnussen confirmation yet, so all we know at this point is that perez will not be driving for mclaren next year, only button. so it may still fall to a maldonado or hulk, or anyone on the market for that matter. the plot thickens (or muddies further) *wipes palms

  18. I think it’s perfectly sensible for Maranello to have paid Hulkenberg’s salary in arrears to stop him from racing for Lotus in the last two races. The salary owed to Hulkenberg was most likely less than $1million and the last thing Ferrari wanted is for Hulkenberg to score some decent points for Lotus in the last 2 races and leapfrog Ferrari in the constructors championship at the end of the season. The prize money and TV revenue share between 2nd,3rd, and 4th place is pretty substantial.

  19. James Allen just described (on BBC 5live) the Lotus situation as $10 million being the difference between the _each_ pair of positions (i.e. 2nd/3rd and 3rd/4th) that Lotus are competing for in the constructors championship.

    Assuming it wasn’t exaggeration to make the point, that sure puts a little more light on the importance of the choice Kovalainen vs whoeverelse for these two races.

    1. The figures I worked out a few months ago were as follows:

      The difference in the Constructors’ between:
      First and second = $10.2m
      Second and third = $10.3
      Third and fourth = $6.8m
      Fourth and fifth = $3.4m
      Fifth and sixth = $3.4m
      Sixth and seventh = $6.9m
      Seventh and eighth = $3.4m
      Eighth and ninth = $3.5m
      Ninth and 10th = $3.4m

      1. Interesting, thanks Joe.

        So all the increases approx. to multiples of a little over $3.4m.

        Wonder what the rationale was for a double step-up between sixth and seventh.

  20. At least Kovalainen is likely to have a better idea of which way the track goes in Brazil than recently demonstrated by Kimi…

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