Heikki Kovalainen will sport a new look in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after inking a promotional deal with the creator of app-based gaming sensation Angry Birds.

The Finn will swap his now familiar green, black and white helmet design for a striking red number featuring one of the characters from the hit game series after agreeing a partnership with developer Rovio Entertainment. The agreement will help to publicise the Finnish company's latest addition, Angry Birds Space, which is due to launch between the Australian and Malaysia grands prix.

"This is a great partnership on many levels," Caterham driver Kovalainen claimed, "It's the first time that I've partnered with a gaming company, and it fits with my larger focus on partnering with unique brands. As a Finn, I'm also happy to be backing a Finnish company on a global platform. Most importantly, I'm a big Angry Birds fan!"

Martin Anayi of IMG Worldwide worked closely with Mikael H?stbacka of Numea Consulting to bring Kovalainen and Rovio together, based on the driver's enthusiasm for supporting Finnish companies looking for an international platform, and a co-branded merchandise line will be released later this spring, including a webgame featuring fun levels with a racing theme.

"We're so excited to be working with Heikki on this, the first partnership of its kind in F1," Rovio's Harri Koponen concluded, "The helmet looks amazing, and we think people are really going to enjoy the webgame and merchandise."


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