Outside Paragon HQ, locks now changed: dashing munchkin Finn, Heikki Kovalainen has revealed today how his love affair with Mclaren was blown wide open, dashed on the rocks and blown up in his face when he discovered the Woking team had been speaking to other partners behind his back, reports our breaking up correspondent Toulihan O’ Houlihan.
The 28 year old from Suomussalami, broke down when he told reporters the first time he begun to suspect something was not quite right at the Santander Vodafone Mobil 1 Aigo Johnnie Walker Tag Heuer Mercedes squad,
“Everything seemed to be going really well and I was really in love with the team”, he squeaked despairingly from inside his Ikea sauna.
“We were completely at one with each other; I completely trusted them and they trusted me ? that is why the situation I find myself in is so devastating”, he continued as the hot bubbling water gently massaged his aching Finnish limbs.
Heikki Mclaren stress has taken its toll, say friends
“Over the course of this year however, I began to realise that something wasn’t quite right”, Heikki’s faltering voice struggled above the frothing spa.
“At first it was little things like having to do more PR events than Lewis or the mixture settings on the fuel not being exactly as I asked for”, he ventured, “but then other things started happening like Lewis got a whole new car to race whilst I had to use a converted bathtub from one of the transporter rigs or I went to start free practice and discovered my car still up on jacks with the mechanics smoking out the back, chatting to John Button,” he lamented.
And despite the scanty Scandinavian choosing to ignore the apparent growing indifference and de facto number 2 status, it was the final race at Abu Dhabi that the now ex-Mclaren driver knew his days of not being what was about to happen were numbered.
“Right from when I arrived at the circuit I knew it was over”, sobbed the Finn who was later to finish the race in a desultory can’t-be-bothered-to-look-up-the-result finish.
“First of all, when I arrived by Easyjet after about half an hour waiting in the sweltering sun it became clear that there was nobody to meet me at the airport so I flagged down a cab but ended up being driven halfway round the desert in an old Fiat 124 by a bloke called Mohammed who kept asking me if I’d been to London and whether I’d like to buy this bit of papyrus”.
“When we finally got to the circuit 3 hours later having taken tea with his family and been introduced to his 4 daughters, it was like nobody knew me and when I asked why nobody came and met me Martin just said they had sent a car but it had gone to the wrong airport and then broken down on the way to meet me but he looked really shifty when he was saying it and I can’t say I believed him.”
“It’s not you, it’s me”
Worse was to follow for the Finn however, “worse than that followed”, the hapless Heikki continued, “during qualifying, I repeatedly asked for certain settings to make my car fast – you know, like Lewis’ – but it was as if they couldn’t be bothered. Then when the gearbox broke I had to walk back to the pits but found they’d already packed up and gone back to the hotel.”
“The knife through the heart though was that I later discovered from one of the mechanics still prepared to talk to me that they had been so busy laughing and joking with Jenson they’d forgotten to put oil in the gearbox which was why it failed: I couldn’t believe how I’d been 2-timed”, he wailed as the steam-laden room fogged the photographer’s lens up making a candid portrait of the Finn’s anguished face a practical impossibility.
Inevitably, Heikki confessed, it was nearly the end bit of the bit that had been ending for quite some time, “a couple of weeks after the race I was relaxing in my hot tub”, he said, “when I got a call from Martin saying we had to talk. I rushed over to Paragon and entered the office where he was pacing up and down the room looking nervous; then he just turned to me and blurted out that – though everyone at Santander Vodafone Mobil 1 Aigo Johnnie Walker Tag Heuer Bridgestone Mercedes and all their corporate partners respected and liked me – the deeper feelings didn’t seem to be there any more.
Even though it was nothing I’d done, maybe it was better for both of us that I take all my stuff and get out”, he sobbed.
“It was at that point I noticed the portrait of Jenson on Martin’s desk but it was too late: I had been told to leave”.
Walking out of Paragon for the last time however, Heikki is philosophical about his time with the team in between uncontrollable sobbing, “I got my first win and pole position with Mclaren”, he said, “and I’ll never ever forget them; the bunch of unfaithful, cheating, prejudiced jezobel bastards”, he added.