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F1: Will McLaren and Renault trade drivers?

Here’s an intriguing rumour that’s doing the rounds at quite a high level – is Heikki Kovalainen about to get a drive in a McLaren?

The story goes like this. The team’s locked into a contract with Fernando Alonso, with whom its relationship have deteriorated to the point of unworkability. Alonso’s got a drive waiting for him at Renault – but how to get him there in the face of that contract?


Answer: offer a driver swap that gets Kovalainen, in only his second season as a Formula One driver, acting as Lewis Hamilton’s rear gunner.

All well and good, you may say. This is just the kind of musical-chairs parlour game that we all enjoy playing when it comes to that point in the season when next year’s drives are up for grabs.

The only surprise is that it’s taken so long this year.

However, Kovalainen himself has been asked the question. And here’s what he told ITV Sport’s Louise Goodman, after confirming that he’s still waiting to find out about his F1 future: “Yeah, absolutely, but I think it is a lot of speculation at the moment.

“Starting from here at the back of the [Interlagos] grid, I don’t know what McLaren were thinking yesterday — they probably would have thought ‘maybe better not to think about him’.

“But honestly, we have been talking to many teams and all I can say is I have a contract with Renault until the end of the year.

“We have to wait and see what the other guys do.”

McLaren, of course, have quite a good record with Finnish drivers and Kovalainen’s shown he’s worthy of a Formula 1 seat after a tricky start to the season.

It could just be a match made in heaven…


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