One of the questions we had a few years ago was the wisdom of Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock going to one of the new teams entering Formula One. Before we get ahead of ourselves, that may have been the best or only options they had at the time. Heikki was coming off of a run at McLaren having been replaced and Timo was exiting the Toyota team as they were exiting F1. Regardless of why, we wondered if the choices would bear fruit in the long-term. The idea here was that these teams would move up the grid and become good competitors but that didn’t happen as fast as anyone would have liked. In Kovalainen’s case, the decision to got to Caterham may not have been the best choice but as I mentioned, it may have been his only choice at the time.
Speaking to AUTOSPORT exclusively (you can read the article here), Heikki says that his prospects for 2013 are not looking good after being replaced by Caterham F1 at the end of the 2012 season. It’s a blow to the career for sure but whether or not Heikki can find some sort of role in F1, his career as a driver may be over in the elite open-wheel series for now. Heikki said:
“It was slightly surprising, I thought after last season and the last couple of years I thought I’d be in a better position on the market.”
Heikki says that finishing 16, 17, or 18th on the grid hasn’t done anything for his marketability and that teams on the back-half of the grid all need paying drivers. This, presumably, leaves Kovalainen out of the running as he has been a paid driver since entering F1. It’s understood that paying drivers Vitaly Petrov or Giedo van der Garde are in the running for Heikki’s seat at the moment.
What do you think? Does Kovalainen deserve a better ride in F1 and has he deserved a seat? Whether he deserves it or not, the point may be irrelevant as there are enough chairs to go around in this game. His performances have been met with mixed review but most commentary I’ve read seems to place Heikki in a very capable light as a driver and I found his role at McLaren, as #2 to Lewis Hamilton, fine but it wasn’t enough to keep him there.
If I had a hunch on the future of Kovalainen, I’d like to say that there is a team that could look to his help in 2014 but with all of the paying drivers, it may be time to look for a role in another series. As we pan over to Marussia, could this be a similar fate for Timo Glock?