Surprising few in their announcement, Renault has named Heikki Kovalainen to fill the soon-to-be-vacated seat of F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who is leaving the team to race for McLaren in 2007. Renault team boss Flavio Briatore was quoted as saying, "We are not losing a driver who has won the world title - we are starting a new story with a future champion." Actually it's a bit of both.
The young Finn will join Giancarlo Fisichella, who signed a one-year extension with the French team in June, as well as Flavio Briatore, who has decided to stay on board for two more years. Kovalainen joined Renault as their back-up driver for the 2006 season but has been testing for the team since 2004. He was runner-up in the GP2 series last season. Heikki will be supported by ex-Toyota (and recent Laguna Seca lap record setter) test driver Ricardo Zonta and Nelson Piquet, Jr., who also is stepping up from GP2.

[Source: BBC]

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