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Kovalainen appears ready to sign deal with Mercedes

2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen
Wikimedia Commons

Word has it that Finnish Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen is poised to become the new test driver for Mercedes, after Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes decided to sign Kamui Kobayashi instead. Kovalainen drove for Team Lotus in 2010-2012. Although he was dropped (along with teammate Vitaly Petrov) in favor of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde prior to the start of the 2013 season, he was-signed to replace Ma Qing Hua as one of the team’s reserve drivers, with Alexander Rossi. He also drove for Lotus F1 in the United States Grand Prix and Brazilian Grand Prix substituting for Kimi Raikkonen when he was sidelined by back surgery. He finished 14th in both races.

Born in Suomussalmi, Finland, on October 19, 1981, Kovalainen began his racing carer by competing in kart racing from 1991-2000, when hee won the Nordic championship and the Paris-Bercy Elf Masters event. He also finished third in the World Formula Super A Championship, leading him to be elected as the Finnish Kart Driver of the Year.

He moved up to the British Formula Renault Championship in 2001 finishing 4th with two wins, two pole positions, five podiums and three fastest laps, earning the Rookie of the Year award. He also took part in the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix, where he finished eighth.

He moved to McLaren for the 2008 season, where he partnered Lewis Hamilton, remaining with the team until signing with Lotus in 2010.