Heikki Kovalainen was confirmed as a McLaren driver for 2009 even before he scored his maiden F1 win in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Although there was never any real likelihood that the Finn would be dropped, suggestions that Nico Rosberg was still in the team’s sights had created some degree of doubt. Kovalainen instantly repaid McLaren’s faith by becoming the sport’s 100th Grand Prix winner when Felipe Massa’s late engine failure handed him victory in Budapest. He had already taken his first pole at Silverstone.
“We just want to win races, and our objective will always be to have the best two available drivers,” said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. “Heikki is going to benefit from knowing that he has a secure position next year, and we think it was the right time to tell him that we have belief in his abilities. We think he’s going to be an outstanding driver.”