12/14/07 (GMM) McLaren has hinted for the first time that it could be interested in hiring Heikki Kovalainen to race alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
The rookie Finn, who is 26, was not included in Renault's official lineup for next season, amid strong speculation that he is in contention for the Mercedes-powered seat that was recently vacated by Fernando Alonso.
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren's veteran Spanish test driver, said on Thursday that team chiefs would determine the identity of Hamilton's new teammate, from a shortlist of two, within a week.
"I think Heikki looks like a very interesting driver," McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh told the Guardian newspaper.
The Briton also acknowledged that de la Rosa is pushing hard for the drive, the newspaper added.