F1: Heikki Kovalainen handed Lotus drive – for two races only

Former McLaren driver to replace fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen for remainder of season

austin

If you had to nominate the most disappointed driver at the Circuit of the Americas you could nominate Sergio Perez, who learned this week that he is being dumped by McLaren in favour of the rookie Kevin Magnussen for next season. But Davide Valsecchi would be pushing him close.

Valsecchi? He's the former GP2 champion who is Lotus's reserve driver. And for a while it seemed that he was going to step up and replace Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races of the season, starting with Sunday's US Grand Prix, after the Finn was forced to undergo surgery on his injured back.

This was after Michael Schumacher – yes, him – and then Nico Hulkenberg had turned down the Lotus drive. But then in bounced former Renault, Lotus and Caterham test driver Heikki Kovalainen.

It was Ferrari, where Raikkonnen will drive from next season, who decided that he ought to get his back fixed as soon as possible so as not to impact on his January test programme. Though there might be a little political manoeuvring in Ferrari getting Raikkonen to hospital, since his presence in a Lotus would undoubtedly have helped that team's challenge for the second place overall to Red Bull which Ferrari are also fighting for along with Mercedes. Valsecchi, though talented, has yet to drive a grand prix; Kovalainen has won one.

There are happy drivers here, however, none more so than Massa after signing for Williams – though Pastor Maldonado gracelessly cooed just how happy he is to be leaving that team.

Said Massa: "I feel like this is a new start. The team really wants me and what I can bring, and everything I have asked for, they have given me. I feel like I am really valued and that will make such a big difference to my racing next year."

It remains to be seen who goes to Lotus for 2014.

Heikki Kovalainen will replace fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen who is undergoing back surgery

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
Life and Style
techSweet Peach says scent 'shows more important things are working'
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible