Date: 14th November 2013 at 8:41am
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In the absence of Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races of the season, Lotus turned to seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher.

The 44-year-old German, who has previously retired from the sport twice after spells with Ferrari and more recently Mercedes turned down the offer to plug the gap for the final two Grand Prix’s of the season in the United States and Brazil.

‘It is true they were asking and I can understand why. Everyone can see Michael is still very fit,’ Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm told the BBC.

‘I think it is fair to assume Michael would still be strong but he has happily settled in his new life.’

The move by Lotus would have shocked the Formula One world, but with Lotus challenging for a top three finish in the FIA Formula One Constructors Championship, it’s clear the team want to replace Kimi Raikkonen with an experienced driver.

Lotus are just 26 points behind Ferrari and 37 points behind second placed Mercedes, with a potential 86 points available.

It had been rumoured that Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi could fill in, but the move to sign Schumacher clearly shows Lotus’ intent to challenge Ferrari and Mercedes during the final two races.

Another reported move was for potential 2014 driver Nico Hulkenberg, who is currently contracted to Sauber.

He is expected to join the Lotus team next season following the completion of the investment deal with Quantum consortium.

However Sauber have refused to allow Hulkenberg to leave the team before the end of the current season.

‘We had an offer from Lotus and have discussed it. But we decided that Nico will drive the last two races with Sauber,’ Werner Heinz told Germany’s Bild newspaper.

So onto Lotus’ fourth option.

Finland’s F1 television broadcaster MTV3 has reported that Lotus now intend to offer the seat to Heikki Kovalainen.

The 32-year-old Finn, a former race winner with McLaren hasn’t raced this season and has only acted as Caterham test and reserve driver.

He would however offer the team experience and a recent knowledge of driving a Formula One car, albeit only during free practice sessions.

Schumacher turns down Lotus, Magnussen in for Perez