Kovalainen confirmed at McLaren

Heikki Kovalainen has been confirmed as Lewis Hamilton's new teammate at McLaren for next year

Kovalainen confirmed at McLaren

The Finn joins the Woking-based outfit on a long-term deal after an impressive debut season with Renault, and McLaren management are convinced that he and Hamilton will make a 'formidable' combination for 2008.

The team have also confirmed that Pedro de la Rosa will remain as third driver, with Gary Paffett staying on board as tester.

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: "We had a number of options open to us and as always we want to make sure that we have the most competitive driver line-up and I think that Lewis and Heikki will be a formidable combination.

"Both enjoyed great rookie seasons in 2007 and share a genuine passion for winning and being the best. Heikki made a strong impression and Lewis' performance so far has been outstanding and speaks for itself.

"I am confident that they will push each other on track and work well together off track. In addition with Pedro remaining our primary test driver alongside Gary, we really have a strong package and look forward to 2008."

Kovalainen found himself out of a job at Renault after the team opted for Nelson Piquet Jr. to be Fernando Alonso's new teammate. But he is delighted at his new opportunity, especially as it means he will follow in the footsteps of compatriots Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen.

"I am so excited to join a team like Vodafone McLaren Mercedes," said Heikki. "So far I have been blown away by the dedication and commitment to winning which is clear through the entire organisation and I am really excited about our joint future.

"As a Finn it's an honour for me to follow in Mika and Kimi's footsteps. I haven't really spent a lot of time with Lewis so far but from what I know I think we will work well together and do our best for the team."

Kovalainen's new teammate Hamilton is equally looking forward to the arrival of the Finn, having endured a few tough moments with Alonso last year.

"As soon as the chequered flag went in Brazil I began to count down the days until Australia," said Hamilton. "I am really looking forward to 2008 and working with Heikki as my teammate.

"Together with the team we will do everything we can to ensure that our Championship challenge is as strong and focused as possible. My first year in Formula One was incredible and I was so fortunate to spend it with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and I hope that Heikki will enjoy his first year with the team as much as I did mine."

shares
comments
Honda test driver decision this month
Previous article

Honda test driver decision this month

Next article

Q & A with Heikki Kovalainen

Q & A with Heikki Kovalainen
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022