Jul.25 - Heikki Kovalainen admits his Formula 1 career may have been cut short because he split with Flavio Briatore.

The now 40-year-old Finn was once one of F1's most promising youngsters, having initially debuted for Briatore-run Renault before being signed by McLaren as Lewis Hamilton's title-winning teammate in 2008.

But Kovalainen then terminated his management contract with Briatore late in 2009, when Briatore was banned from Formula 1 over the 'crashgate' scandal.

Briatore recruited by F1 CEO for return to the paddock?

Flavio Briatore

"It was the biggest mistake of my career," Kovalainen, who now competes in the All Japan Rally Championship, told Viaplay.

"It would definitely have been worth staying on the same side of the table with Flavio rather than going to the other side of the table," he smiled.

Indeed, his next move after McLaren was to the Lotus-Caterham outfit, which turned out to be one of the slowest on the grid until it collapsed.

"When my McLaren contract was ending and I had to quickly get a new contract, while the drivers managed by Flavio did not have a super license at that point," said Kovalainen.

By 2010, Briatore's Formula 1 ban was lifted.

"If I had just waited until January of the following year, Flavio would have had his punishment reversed and he could have returned," the Finn admitted.

"Yes, Flavio could have made better deals for me, and he had made the best deals of my career before that episode."

Kovalainen is now focusing on building up his rallying career, which so far in Japan has been successful.

"I'm 100 percent focused on rallying now," he confirmed. "I enjoy watching WRC - I stay up all night and day watching nowadays."

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2 F1 Fan comments on “Kovalianen says dumping Briatore was his biggest mistake

  1. ReallyOldRacer

    Ah yes, the Alonzo approach to success. How did that work out for him, Heikki? One of the best drivers ever, and little more than a future footnote. Flav's one attribute is self-promotion. That, and his hair.

  2. Jere Jyrälä

    He indeed did say so, although the translation concerning super license isn't wholly accurate. The same message nevertheless.
    He didn't really have a choice, though, but judging is always easy in hindsight.


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