Kovalainen in talks to make F1 comeback

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Heikki Kovalainen has revealed that he has spoken to multiple teams in an attempt to make a return to Formula One.

The Finnish driver raced for Caterham between 2010 and 2012, but he was dropped by the British team in favor of two pay drivers – Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde – in order to aid their finances.

Despite refusing to become a pay driver, Kovalainen has been linked with a return to his old team after appearing in the Caterham garage last weekend, and he did admit to Autosport that he was missing the sport.

“I love F1. I really enjoyed my time here and would enjoy being here today [in Malaysia].

“I already had a few discussions with different teams.”

Kovalainen enjoyed some success in the sport prior to his Caterham switch, racing for Renault and McLaren between 2007 and 2009. However, he failed to match Lewis Hamilton whilst with the Woking-based team, taking just a single victory at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.

His decision to return could be largely down to a potential sponsorship deal. Kovalainen may have been forced between choosing to stick to his principles or make a return to Formula One, but whether or not it will be in the current season remains to be confirmed.

F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

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Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.