Heikki Kovalainen is a strong candidate to become a test driver for official F1 tyre supplier Pirelli.
But Paul Hembery, the Italian marque’s F1 boss, admitted it all depends on whether Pirelli’s contract to supply tyres to the pinnacle of motor racing is extended. “This question is still open,” he is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat.
The highly-rated former Renault, McLaren and Caterham driver Kovalainen, 31, is the latest victim of the rise of ‘pay drivers’ in F1.
Hembery continued: “When everything has been resolved, we will see what the situation is with our test drivers.”
He confirmed that Pirelli’s 2012 test duo Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi are still very much in the frame.
“But Heikki would be an excellent candidate,” added Hembery. “He is a highly experienced driver.
“I really believe that he is one of the strongest candidates to be with us.”
Finnish rally legend Juha Kankkunen, however, thinks Kovalainen should give a career in rallying a chance.
“I think it would be a perfectly reasonable alternative for Heikki, but so too is DTM or Le Mans,” he told the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.
“But I have seen Heikki in a rally car on the frozen lake in Kuusamo (Finland) and he is an excellent driver, with real talent.”