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Relationship with Caterham good again - Kovalainen

ESPN Staff
August 23, 2013 « Ricciardo not banking on Red Bull seat | Massa open to other options outside Ferrari »
Heikki Kovalainen: "The chances for next year? I don't know" © Sutton Images

Heikki Kovalainen says he has patched up his relationship with Caterham and hopes to be first in line for a drive if the team looks to replace Giedo van der Garde or Charles Pic next season.

Kovalainen lost his Caterham race seat over the winter after refusing to go in search of a budget to bring to the team. Pic and van der Garde created an all-new line-up for 2013 but Kovalainen returned to the car in Bahrain during Friday practice to offer his analysis of the CT03.

He was back in the car during first practice at Spa-Francorchamps and will do the same in Monza as the team looks for feedback on new mechanical parts brought to the car at the Silverstone Young Driver Test. Kovalainen played down rumours he may replace one of the race drivers this year, but said he is hopeful of returning to F1 in the future.

"I'm here and ready, but honestly the team made the decision to take these race drivers and they've stuck with that at the moment," he said. "I don't know what is going on between them, but I know the situation with myself and the fact is I haven't spoken to any teams - not even Cyril [Abiteboul, Caterham team principal] and Tony [Fernandes, Caterham owner]. They know my situation and I'm available, but we haven't discussed that and it depends on many things.

"I have a feeling that this year, although I've not been racing, I've established a really good relationship with the team. It was degrading a little bit towards the end of last season but I think I've got that relationship back with the team. That's only going to be a positive thing for the future."

Kovalainen has been working in Caterham's simulator this year to compliment his FP1 drives, but says his main objective has been to remain in F1.

"I would prefer it to be more and I would prefer to race, there's no hiding from the fact, but sometimes life treats you like this and you have to take what you have available," he added. "The main thing was that I wanted to stay in the Formula One scene. I'm fit and well and ready to go if needed. We know the reasons why I was forced out, and I still don't want to go down the route of looking for money and bringing it to the teams.

"It's good to keep myself here in the paddock and it's good to contribute to this team. I've accepted the fact that this year is like this and I tried to make the most of it and help the team as much as I can. You never know what will happen in the future, so better to keep yourself fit and well if the motivation is still there."

The Finn said he had no idea whether he will return to the grid in 2014.

"It's hard to say. I haven't had any discussions with any teams, not even Caterham about next year. I've just focused on the job I have now and spent a bit of time in our new simulator we have in the factory. The chances for next year? I don't know. I haven't spoken to anyone yet. I have a really good relationship with Tony and Caterham so I'm not concerned."