• Lotus

Kovalainen closes on Caterham deal

ESPN Staff
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Heikki Kovalainen doesn't see his opportunity at Lotus as a chance to earn a seat with the team in 2014, saying he's close to agreeing a deal at Caterham.

Having been named as Kimi Raikkonen's replacement for the last two weekends of the season, Kovalainen will drive for Lotus while the team still has a vacancy alongside Romain Grosjean next year. However, he said he's only focused on returning with Caterham long-term and doesn't see a chance of forcing his way in to the reckoning at Lotus.

"I haven't thought about [his chances at Lotus] too much to be honest, for me the main thing is just to get back in to racing," Raikkonen said. "I wanted to race this year and I never wanted to leave Formula One; circumstances just worked out such that I was out. The main focus this weekend is not to try to show what I can do, I'll try to deliver a good result for the team. I'm here working for the team more than myself.

"Of course if I could drag out a good result it would be a bonus, probably. But in any case I have not spoken to Lotus about next year at all and the only team I have seriously spoken about is Caterham. We're getting closer to the point where we are starting to agree terms. I think it's still probably the most likely option for me and this weekend or Brazil I don't think will have a huge influence on that."

Kovalainen would not set a target for the weekend but said his biggest challenge would be driving the car at 100%.

"I think just generally getting to the limit, getting comfortable in the car in such a short time with very limited practice; to get comfortable with the car and get the balance so that I can push it to the limit. We are limited with tyres so there is no point to just go out and do a lot of laps, they need to be quality laps and that's the challenge. If I had an unlimited amount of tyres and a few extra sessions then I would probably just be out running but it's got to be more quality running. That's what I said with Caterham, every Friday I follow the program that the race drivers are doing, I'm not being the first car out and just driving around because the tyres don't last the whole session.

"So I'm not worried about that too much, it's just how quickly I can get to the absolute limit. The margins are small so if you're missing a little bit it could be too much to get a good result."

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