Should we shuffle Heikki up the maybe-to-McLaren list?

The brain trust at McLaren is considering Heikki Kovalainen as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton, if the former Formula 1 champ (meaning, obviously, Lewis, not Heikki) jumps to Mercedes next year, the Daily Mail is reporting.

Feel free to argue whether McLaren’s brass should lose the “brain trust” moniker if they can’t keep Lewis.

This piece strikes me as worth noting for a few reasons:

  • The Lewis-to-Mercedes story is now fully out there in the British press. This isn’t just bloggers and Autosport speculating about his move. Does that give it more validity? Maybe a tad?
  • It pegs the Hamilton-Mercedes deal as three years at 60 million pound. Are those numbers floating around? I know Todd’s been more on top of this than I have, but that’s the first I have seen of those details.
  • Not surprisingly, other possible McLaren targets are Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta. (OK, maybe that’s not a great bullet point, but it highlights them. The Mail suggests Perez as a longer shot because of his Ferrari ties, which makes perfect sense.)

I know in Todd’s earlier post that the main question around Heikki is his age (30) and whether he has that “extra something” that separates the great (and winning) drivers from those who can hold a job in F1. It feels like we could argue whether Heikki has shown that by wringing every last second out of the Caterhams.

But would that translate into a faster, near-the-front car? I suppose that’s the question Martin Whitmarsh and others have to answer.

If McLaren brought Heikki in, I’d say it just means the team becomes Jenson Button’s. So is the true question whether Heikki can play the role of second driver, helping Button get a driver’s title and the team a constructor’s?

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