Kovalainen eyes McLaren, Toyota for ’08

Tue, 11 December 2007, 12:47

Heikki Kovalainen’s career at the highest level of motor racing is not over, Renault boss Flavio Briatore suggested on Monday.

As the French team announced that the rookie Finn had not been included in the 2008 race or test lineup, Briatore played down the obvious conclusion that Kovalainen, who is 26, is therefore facing dark days.

“We are proud to have given him his start in formula one, and wish him the very best for what is sure to be an outstanding career,” Italian Briatore said.

Unlike his 2007 teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, who is pinning his hopes on racing with the backmarker team Force India next season, Kovalainen is being linked not only with McLaren but also Toyota for 2008.

McLaren is yet to fill Fernando Alonso’s recently vacated seat alongside Lewis Hamilton, while Toyota is believed to be open to the idea of sidelining Jarno Trulli, who has an ongoing contract for the Japanese team.

“The decision is still to be taken,” Mercedes’ Norbert Haug answered when asked by the German newspaper Bild about the available McLaren cockpit.

Team testers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, as well as young hopefuls Bruno Spengler and Paul di Resta, have also been linked with the seat at the Woking based team.

Bild explained that Adrian Sutil has, however, been ruled out by McLaren because Force India is demanding a “double digit” million-dollar figure for the sale of his 2008 contract.

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