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Kovalainen cleared to race as accident cause confirmed 08 May 2008

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Thursday, 8 May 2008

McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen has been declared fit to race in this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix, following his high-speed accident at the last round in Spain just under two weeks ago.

Kovalainen spent a night in hospital following the crash, but suffered nothing worse than a suspected concussion. He has since resumed training and on Thursday morning was given the all-clear following a medical examination at Istanbul Park by FIA Medical Delegate, Professor Jean-Charles Piette, and the Chief Medical Officer of the event, Dr Cem Boneval.

"I am obviously very pleased with the decision by the FIA Medical Team,” said the Finn. “I arrived here today feeling confident that I would pass the FIA test as I feel 100 percent and if I had not felt 100 percent I would have told the team already and stayed at home.

“My preparation for this weekend has gone well and we have done a lot of fitness training. Obviously a big thumbs-up for all the FIA safety standards and the guys in Spain who worked hard to get me out of the car safely.”

Meanwhile, after a thorough technical investigation, McLaren have confirmed that the cause of Kovalainen’s crash was a manufacturing fault on his car’s new left-front wheel. Along with the wheel supplier, the team have now established new procedures designed to prevent a re-occurrence of the issue.

“The outer clamp surface of the wheel was given a clear lacquer coating,” explained a statement from McLaren. “As a consequence of this fault, the clamp load that attached the wheel was not to specification. In running, the consequent loss of load caused the wheel to fret and distort, leading to its eventual failure.”

Kovalainen resumes his 2008 campaign lying sixth in the standings on 14 points, six behind team mate Lewis Hamilton and 15 adrift of leader Kimi Raikkonen.