Kovalainen returns to Caterham after driver reshuffle

Heikki-Kovalainen-Massenet-Monaco-Qualifying-2012Caterham’s difficult opening to the 2013 season took a positive turn this morning with the squad announcing that Heikki Kovalainen will rejoin them as a test and reserve driver.

The Finn who raced for the team for their first three seasons in Formula 1 was left without a drive after Caterham hired Giedo van der Garde to partner Charles Pic in an inexperienced lineup. With Marussia gaining an early season march in their fight for tenth in the Constructors’ Championship it was crucial that Caterham look to take steps to improve their competitiveness.

Team Principal, Cyril Abiteboul, confirmed that Kovalainen will see immediate action in FP1 this weekend in Bahrain and that the team will restructure their reserve drivers to accommodate the Finn’s arrival.

Heikki-Kovalainen-Bruno-Senna-Vitaly-Petrov-Barcelona-Race-2012“Heikki has six years of F1 experience behind him so he is perfectly placed to provide us objective feedback on the various types of configurations and of the 2013 tyres,” commented the Frenchman. “Having invested in Heikki for our first three years of competition it would be a waste not to leverage the valuable expertise he brings.”  

Alexander Rossi will replace Ma Qing Hua at Caterham’s GP2 team with the Chinese driver’s role with both GP2 and F1 squads to be revaluated in the coming weeks.

Having recently become the first Chinese driver to take part in an F1 weekend it is clear that he has some commercial value to the team but finding performance is clearly the target with the reshuffle. Kovalain

“After Ma’s successful run in FP1 in China a number of new opportunities have arisen for him and we have decided to restructure our current line-up,” continued Abiteboul. “Alexander moves to Caterham Racing to compete in GP2 and I am sure he will be an immediate success in that championship whilst he will continue to enjoy the link with the F1 team throughout the season.”

With Kovalainen having been present at Sepang, strictly as a team guest, it is clear that these negotiations have been ongoing and the Finn is clearly delighted to be back in a Formula 1 car even if it is only for FP1 at the moment:

“It’s obviously great news that I’ll be on track in Bahrain and Spain and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work and helping the team as much as I can,” said the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner. “I’ll be taking part in the two FP1 sessions in Bahrain and Barcelona to give the team my input on the new parts we’re bringing to those races, and I’ll be working closely with the race drivers and the engineers on track and back at Leafield to help everyone get the most out of the new package. Tony, Cyril and I have been talking about me taking up this role for quite a while, so it’s good to finally be able to announce how I’ll be helping the team in 2013.”

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