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Welcome back, Kovy!
Autosport reported on Wednesday afternoon that Heikki Kovalainen was the favourite to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for the remainder of the season, and by the evening a two-race deal was confirmed.
With Raikkonen sidelined by injury, the team had largely been expected to take third driver Davide Valsecchi (what else are reserve drivers for?), before it emerged they had serious talks with Nico Hulkenberg.
When Hulkenberg declined, rather than their Italian wingman, Lotus opted for the man who had driven for the squad in its works Renault days in 2007.
The website’s Jonathan Noble wrote:
One of the main hurdles was securing the blessing of Caterham for the deal, because Kovalainen is under contract to the outfit until the end of the season.
But despite a history of friction between Caterham and Lotus dating back to the Team Lotus naming dispute, sources suggest that an amicable deal has been reached for Kovalainen to be released to race for Lotus in the United States and Brazil.
Kovalainen has already visited Lotus' Enstone headquarters to finalise his preparations for a return to racing action for the first time since 2012.