In what could be interpreted as a parting shot to the team, Heikki Kovalainen has suggested that he did not enjoy equal treatment as Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate in 2008 and 2009, something also alleged by Fernando Alonso during his time with the team.
Well, surprise, surprise! It’s not like we haven’t speculated that before!
The Finn is now linked with a move to Toyota or Renault, while McLaren weighs up the various pros and cons of pairing Hamilton next year with Kimi Raikkonen or Jenson Button. McLaren insists it operates without a driver hierarchy, but Kovalainen painted a very different picture in an interview with the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
"It was always difficult to accept that Lewis was always the first to receive the new parts,” he said. "I have never wanted to make a big deal about it, but it would have been nice to just once had the new parts on my car, particularly after we lost the chance of winning the championship."
"I could have complained publicly but instead wanted to show the team that I always give maximum effort with the car that I have, and I think they realise that."
Kovalainen also alleges that he has not enjoyed equal status in terms of race strategies.
"Every time this season – when Hamilton and I are in the third part of qualifying – I had to do it with more fuel. If you take into account the quantities of fuel, I would have had pole position several times," he insists.
Kovalainen admits his performances at times this season
should could have been better, but does not rule out staying at McLaren in 2010.
"I am 100% sure that McLaren has not yet made a decision. We’ll see what they do.”
It’s unlikely Heikki will receive a red carpet invitation to stay at Woking, but good on him for exploding the myth of driver equality with Lewis in the team!