Op-Ed: HRT should hire the Stig’s Finnish cousin this weekend

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Now that we know who the Stig really is, I believe the way is clear for super backmarker HRT — the team that makes Lotus and Virgin look like Ferrari and McLaren — to go out and hire the Top Gear driver’s Finnish cousin to drive for it at Spa this weekend.

Forget Sakon Yamamoto and his millions. And even if the Stig does demand a big chunk of HRT change, just do it.

Now, longer-time F1B readers will recognize my plea. I’ve beat this particular drunken dolphin a few times. But let me lay it out one last time, because now I think I have found the loophole that will make this work.

We all know that one current (to use that word loosely, you’ll see why in a second) Formula 1 driver is head and shoulders above his peers when it comes to driving at Spa. That driver is none other than Kimi Raikkonen.

But we all know Kimi won’t be at Spa this weekend. Not only does he not have a contract with an F1 team, he’s getting paid big bucks by Ferrari not to drive. And the word is that he would lose that pay-not-to-drive set-up if he so much as got in another F1 car.

And that’s where the Stig steps in. Or, rather, the Stig’s Finnish cousin.

I still think it would be great marketing and PR for a team with nothing to lose — which is at least the three mentioned above, plus Sauber, Williams and Force India, at least — to hire Kimi for a one-off drive at Spa, where he has been so dominant. But I can understand how Kimi isn’t willing to break his Ferrari contract. My repeated pleas to get him in a car, I knew, were unlikely to be heard.

But the Stig’s Finnish cousin is a great alternative! I’m not saying it would be Kimi, but I happen to know that the Stig’s Finnish cousin is extremely comfortable driving at Spa, is keeping fit and trim by driving in top-level racing series and loves vodka.

Would it really be worse than Yamamoto? Or Pedro de la Rosa? No way.

And the really great thing is, a team doesn’t even have to get Kimi. Heck, keep Yamamoto in the HRT. But put him in a Finnish-colored Stig race suit. We’ll all figure (or happily pretend) it’s Kimi, at least until he’s running 10 seconds a lap slower than everyone else, including Bruno Senna.

This is a win-win folks. And if no one in F1 has the guts to drop a Stig in a car this weekend, well then I absolutely demand that the Stig’s fat American cousin drive the pace car in Austin in 2012.

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