Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Saturday news round-up

Heikki Kovalainen will start eighteenth in tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after McLaren were forced to make a gearbox change on his car.

The Finn’s session ended prematurely when he stopped out on circuit during Q2, and after close inspection it was decided that the McLaren transmission could not be repaired.

Meanwhile Kovalainen has revealed that he wants to follow in the footsteps of his fellow compatriot, Kimi Raikkonen, by being allowed to go rallying.

“In my next contract I will make sure that as well as formula one I am allowed to drive rallies,” he told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

McLaren also welcomed its former team boss to Abu Dhabi, as Ron Dennis made a surprise visit to the pitlane. It is rumoured that the 62-year-old has returned from exile in light of Jean Todt’s election as FIA President, with old nemesis Max Mosley stepping down from the position.

Meanwhile the war of words between Adrian Sutil and Jarno Trulli continued on Saturday with the former claiming that he was fed up with the Toyota driver’s accusations.

“He will walk around with his pictures for a few weeks more and tell everybody, but… maybe I will draw a picture for him with a Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or a Goofy or whatever. It’s done. I cannot listen to it anymore.” said the German after Trulli reportably arrived at Friday’s driver briefing armed with a laptop, photographs and sketches.

Finally Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that Nelson Piquet Jr may make a shock return to Formula One next season, partnering the newly-signed Bruno Senna at Campos Meta 1.

“It’d be good wouldn’t it, another good name,” Ecclestone is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph. “That’s what’s being talked about actually.”