Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Johannes Kovalainen was born in Suomussalmi, Finland, on 19 October 1981. The talented driver began his career in auto racing with kart racing from 1991. In 1999 Kovalainen took the runner-up position in the Finnish Karting Formula A championship. Then in 2000 he was named Finnish Kart Driver of the Year after winning the Nordic championship, the Paris-Bercy Elf Masters and various other achievements.

2001 saw Heikki Kovalainen beginning his single-seater racing career. During the year he took 4th place in the Formula Renault British Championship, 8th in the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix and was named Rookie of the Year by the Finnish Automobile Sports Federation. 2002 was another successful year, with Kovalainen coming in third overall in the British Formula Three Series with Fortec Motorsport. His five wins, three fastest laps and three pole positions meant he was once again Rookie of the Year. He also placed second at the Macau Grand Prix and fourth in the Zandvoort Marlboro Masters.

Kovalainen began competing in the World Series by Nissan in 2003, where he came in second in the standings. That same year he test drove for Renault R23 and Minardi F1 Team. He moved to Pons Racing for the 2004 World Series by Nissan and won the championship with six wins, ten fastest laps and nine poles. Renault F1 also appointed him their second test driver in 2004. Heikki Kovalainen’s success continued into 2005 as he finished the GP2 Series championship in runner-up position, as well as becoming an official Renault F1 test driver.

It was in 2006 that his F1 career really began to take off. That year he was Renault’s 3rd driver, during which he gained extensive experience. Kovalainen made his F1 debut in 2007, gaining his maiden podium with a second place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix. He took seventh place overall that season. For the 2008 F1 season, Kovalainen joined the McLaren team. The season saw him gaining his first fastest lap, first pole position and first win, placing 7th overall with 51 points. 2009 was a more challenging year for this fantastic driver, who managed to finish in 12th position with 22 points.

On 14 December 2009, it was announced that Heikki Kovalainen would join the Lotus Racing team for the 2010 F1 season.

back to Formula One Drivers