Heikki Kovalainen


  • Suomussalmi, Finland Place of Birth
  • 19 October 1981 Date of Birth
  • 2007 Australian Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Lotus F1 Current/Last Team

Heikki Kovalainen, born on October 19, 1981, in Suomussalmi, Finland, raced in Formula 1 between 2007 and 2013. From a young age, Heikki harboured a deep passion for motorsports and began his journey in go-kart racing at just 11 years old. He achieved early success by winning several championships, including the Finnish Formula A Championship in 1999.

BornHeikki Johannes Kovalainen
19 October 1981
Suomussalmi, Finland

In 2002, Heikki clinched the British Formula Renault championship, a victory that caught the attention of the Renault Driver Development Program. This led to his Formula 1 debut in 2007 with Renault. He made a significant impact in his first season, achieving his first podium at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, where he finished third. His performance continued to be strong in his second season, now with McLaren, although he often found himself trailing behind his teammate, Lewis Hamilton. Nevertheless, Heikki earned his first and only F1 victory at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.

He continued with McLaren in 2009 but faced a tough season before being dropped by the team. Heikki continued in Formula 1 until 2013, driving for lower mid-field teams like Lotus Racing and Caterham. A memorable moment from Heikki’s time lower down the grid was when his car caught fire at the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix, forcing him to retire. Displaying remarkable composure, Heikki waved to the crowd as he exited the burning car, earning a standing ovation for his sportsmanship and courage.

He saw out his final season in 2013 with Lotus F1, after which he moved to other racing series, including the Blancpain GT Series.

While Heikki Kovalainen’s Formula 1 career might not have been as decorated as some of his contemporaries, he went on to race in the 2023 Extreme E season racing for Jenson Button‘s team, JBXE, where he teamed up with Hedda Hosås. His stint was brief, as he was replaced by Andreas Bakkerud after just two championship rounds.

Heikki Kovalainen Formula One World Championship career

Active years2007–2013
TeamsRenault, McLaren, Lotus Racing, Caterham, Lotus F1
Entries112 (111 starts)
Career points105
Pole positions1
Fastest laps2
First entry2007 Australian Grand Prix
First win2008 Hungarian Grand Prix
Last win2008 Hungarian Grand Prix
Last entry2013 Brazilian Grand Prix



Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
Italian Ferrari 1996 Australian Grand Prix Retired
British Mercedes 2007 Australian Grand Prix Current
Italian Lotus Racing 1997 Australian Grand Prix Retired
French Haas 2009 European Grand Prix Retired


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Renault French 1977 Historic
McLaren British 1966 Current
Lotus Racing Malaysian 2010 Historic
Caterham F1 Malaysian 2012 Historic
Lotus F1 British 2012 Historic