Feb.4 (GMM) Former F1 driver Mika Salo has tipped Heikki Kovalainen to return to the grid in the future.
Finn Kovalainen is the latest victim of the ever-increasing influence of the ‘pay driver’ in F1, with Caterham replacing its entire 2012 lineup in favour of the heavily sponsored Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.
When the news about Dutchman van der Garde broke, the Finnish press tried and failed to extract a comment from Kovalainen, who was paid by Caterham for the past three seasons.
Some interpreted that as a clear sign that the 31-year-old former McLaren and Renault driver knows his F1 career is over, but Salo insisted: “I don’t think so.
“I think he can still come back,” the 46-year-old, now a commentator for Finnish television, told the broadcaster MTV3.
“It often happens that there are new, young drivers, but their song can be short if they make a lot of mistakes.
“That’s when people start looking around again for an experienced professional,” added the former Ferrari and Sauber driver.
“Heikki had long negotiations with Caterham,” Salo revealed, “but in the end they chose money over skill.”