With his chances of remaining on the Formula One grid in 2013 said to be receding, the Finn wouldn’t rule out a change of codes next season.
“There’s not much outside of Formula One that interests me,” he said, “but rallying is one of those things. Sometimes I think it’s a bit surprising that I didn’t become a rally driver earlier in life; I had lots of opportunities when I was growing up to drive on forest tracks, like most kids in Finland, but then I discovered racing circuits! Next year we’ll see what happens: there’s life outside Formula One as well.”
Raikkonen spent two seasons in the FIA World Rally Championship between 2010 and 2011 during a sabbatical from grand prix racing. He bagged several top 10 finishes and a fastest stage time in Germany along the way.
If Kovalainen did make the move to rallying and the WRC in particular then he would be in good company with several Finnish drivers in regular action in the global series, including works Citroen pilot Mikko Hirvonen and factory Volkswagen runner Jari-Matti Latvala.
Kovalainen is one of the few people to have defeated Sebastien Loeb in an identical rally car: the two went head-to-head in the Champion of Champions final at the 2004 Race of Champions, with Kovalainen beating Loeb in a Peugeot 307 WRC - despite never having sat in the car before. He consequently became the first non-rally driver to win the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy.