McLaren confirm Heikki Kovalainen for 2008

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Heikki Kovalainen will be confirmed as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate at McLaren for 2008 according to today’s Times.

Kovalainen has lost his seat at Renault who announced Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jnr as its drivers for the 2008 season. The Finn is set to follow the footsteps of Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen in joining McLaren, having previously indicated he did not want to stay at Renault if it meant being number two to Alonso.

Other drivers previously believed to be in line for the role included Nico Rosberg (who has now signed a deal with Williams until 2009), Pedro de la Rosa (whose claim to the drive may have been weakened by McLaren’s loss of a Spanish sponsor) and Adrian Sutil.

Update: McLaren have now confirmed Kovalainen for 2008.

Martin Whitmarsh said: “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.”

Photo: Action Images / Renault F1 Team

More on the 2008 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “McLaren confirm Heikki Kovalainen for 2008”

  1. all I can say is good luck to heiki for 2008 and hopefully after eating humble pie and kow towwing to max that mcclaren are allowed to race their 2008 car? – lets get racing asbp

  2. Is Heikki going to follow Alonso around his whole career – after replacing him at Renault last year and McLaren this, if we see Fernando moving to Ferrari in 2009 can we expect Heikki to go in 2010?

    Alonso seems to be Heikki’s glorified seat warmer! ;)

  3. sorry isnt alonso his seat warmer?

  4. apologies you already said that Craig

  5. I see it’s now official that Heikki has the seat at McLaren for 2008 – should be interestig to see how he does compared to Hamilton…

  6. Having a double world champion as your seat warmer can’t be bad, can it Craig? ;)

    Seriously, Heikki is a good, calm, quick match for McLaren. He should go well there.

  7. Frankly I can’t believe PDR still has a job at McLaren after his role in the whole spy scandal.

  8. probably after a decent period of time has passed as the spanish sponsor did – pedro may make his excuses and leave – hasn’t anybody left to send e’ms too anymore!!

  9. I really believe Heikki will fit in well @ McLaren.They have a very strong line up for next season.I would love to see Heikki out pace Alonso after they ran him off the team.

  10. I’m a big hamilton fan and even i think heikki will give hamilton a good run for his money!

    Hamilton is a fantastic driver but haikki will grow in time and i have no doubt that with lewis and haikki at the wheel of mclaren they will have a really good chance of giving the mclaren constructors championship in 2008.

  11. there are both good drivers and they even may be able to work well together.

    The only thing I am a bit concerned is that now McLaren has 2 young drivers and that driver input and car set may be affected by this.

  12. AmericanTifosi
    15th December 2007, 4:45

    McLaren must know something the rest of us don’t because I can’t see how running two talented yet unexperienced drivers in equal contention for the championship is going to work. All Lewis and Heikki will do is take points off each other.

  13. Nice to see something good, even if an inevitable falling of stones to the cairn, come to light this late in the year. I still have my doubts about this guy, but not everyone flowers under Flav’s glower. Judging by everyone’s surprise at his underperformance at the beginning of ’07 (though I’m not sure how much of that was Flav’s hyperbole and hyperexpectation) I’d say this may be a much better gig, though any expectations of a serious bid at giving Lewis a run for his money are truly naieve.

    But, it will be nice to see what the guy actually is capable of.

  14. Heikki deserved a good break. Good job well done. Now, if only McLaren could keep their snooping noses to themselves and work on their car(and not get DQ’d again)… and if they are not biased towards Hamilton(nothing to take away from him, he’s fast, but please do not sell me equality) AGAIN, yes Heikki has a chance.

    Oh trust me, i like that lad. He is fast, but, he is racing Ron’s lad. You know, we’ve learned a lot about McLaren’s honesty, integrity and team spirit this year. So forgive me when am skeptical, but, i only mean the lad(Heikki) well.

  15. It seems we will have a great F1 season next year: three team have chance of winning races and fighting for the final win (Ferrari, McLaren and Renault), with BMW that could take points (and hopefully some win) to let their work even more difficult.

  16. Don’t forget Honda as well, they will be a lot stronger with Brawn on board.

  17. Milos remarked: The only thing I am a bit concerned is that now McLaren has 2 young drivers and that driver input and car set may be affected by this.

    I’m under the impression that was one of Alonso’s complaints with McLaren he wanted his own set-ups and Ron wouldn’t allow it, one of Alonso’s last quoyes at Brazil was, “I just drove what they gave me”.

    AmericanTifosi Says: All Lewis and Heikki will do is take points off each other.
    Does McLaren care….they will get ALL the points!!!!

    This could set up an interesting season where MULTIPLE cars and drivers win and we gould end up with a DRIVER champion from one make but a CONSTRUCTOR champion from another make. an example Hamilton 100, Kova 97, Massa 104, Kimi 92, Alonso 105, Piquet 30 Heidfeld 106, Kubica 88. Even though Hammy and Kova were outstanding Heidfeld is DRIVER champ and McLaren are CONSTRUCTOR champs. Weird but possible.

  18. I think more people should refer to Lewis Hamilton as “Hammy”.

  19. At least Heikki gets to take off that clowns outfit.

    If Mclaren was interested in a “number 2” driver, they would simply have promoted Pedro to the race sit. Signing on Heikki indicates to me, that they want driver s who can push each other. Don’t forget, if Heikki wanted to play a supporting role, he would still be driving for Renault and partner to Alonso.

  20. Believe all of us Oliver, all McLaren has to offer is a #2 supporting role!!!!!!!! Heikki took it as he had NO seat for 2008.

  21. Remember Kimi? We dont know when exactly he committed to Mclaren, because from midway through the season as speculation was on, that Alonso was returning to Renault, Heikki always said he was confident he would race, typical Finnish laid back assurance.

    Hamilton is not going to be cuddled in that team, he will be given tough competition, Heikki with his experience will get to grips with the car quickly and give Lewis serious competition. Yes Lewis may get more hugs cause he is still like a tot, but the Finns are not known for hugging much, at least when they are race drivers.

  22. I think that it through accident/fortune has given mcclaren two good young compeitive drivers – yes they may lack some of the alleged feedback capabilities that a former driver alleged he gave to the team?? – but hopefully more fun and less petulance as well as trying hard too win

  23. Number 38 Says:

    Believe all of us Oliver, all McLaren has to offer is a #2 supporting role!!!!!!!! Heikki took it as he had NO seat for 2008

    maby 2nd driver but Kovalainen made allmost contract with Toyota when Ron came agressive after him

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