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Kovalainen replaces Raikkonen at Lotus for US and Brazil 14 Nov 2013

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), who will race for Lotus in place of Kimi Raikkonen in the final two rounds of the 2013 season, with Lotus team principal Eric Boullier (FRA) Davide Valsecchi (ITA) Lotus F1 Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Saturday, 26 October 2013 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), who will race for Lotus in place of Kimi Raikkonen in the final two rounds of the 2013 season Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 11 October 2013 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27 waves to the crowd at the end of qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2007

Former Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen has been announced as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement at Lotus for the final two races of the season.

The 32-year-old Finn, who has started 109 races for teams including McLaren and Caterham, will partner Romain Grosjean in the United States and Brazil after Raikkonen elected to undergo season-ending back surgery.

Kovalainen, who had a seat-fitting at Lotus’s UK factory in Enstone on Wednesday, has taken part in six FP1 sessions with Caterham this year, but hasn’t raced since finishing 14th in last November’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

According to team principal Eric Boullier, Lotus opted to replace Raikkonen with Kovalainen rather than promote reserve driver Davide Valsecchi because of the former's’s greater experience.

“Obviously we had to move quickly following the news of Kimi’s non-participation in the final two races of this season, and we found ourselves facing a difficult decision in terms of who should take the wheel in Austin and São Paulo,” explained Boullier.

“On the one hand we had our reserve driver Davide Valsecchi - who is a talented young driver that has shown a great deal of promise - and on the other we had the opportunity to bring in a seasoned Formula One competitor in Heikki.

"Whilst we have every faith in Davide’s abilities, we are obviously involved in a tight constructors’ championship battle, so it was decided that the experience Heikki could bring to the team would be invaluable as we aim to finish the year in the best position possible. We must thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 Team for their professional conduct in allowing Heikki to join us for the final races of this season.”

Kovalainen, who drove for the Enstone-based squad in 2007 when they were known as Renault, said he was delighted to have the opportunity to race again after being released from his Caterham contract.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for the final two races of 2013,” he said. “We’ve seen this year that the E21 is a car which can win races and finish on the podium, so I will be pushing hard for the best results possible.

“Jumping into a car so late in the year when you have not been competing in the races all season will be a challenge, but I know the team at Enstone well so I have no concerns about getting up to speed. This is a great opportunity for me, so I would like to thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 Team for allowing me to take advantage of it.”

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