Heikki Kovalainen says he’s not angling for a return to a race drive at Caterham, and insists that he’s driving in FP1 in Bahrain and Barcelona purely to assist the team with development.
“I’m here to help the race drivers right now,” he said. “My role is different to what it was before. I’m working 100% now for the team, and I’ll give all I can to help the race drivers and help the team. Naturally if I’m pushing them, hopefully that makes them even quicker, that’s what you always what in a team.
“But I think the guys have done a good job already this year. The car is not easy to drive. The car is fundamentally the same as last year, and other teams have made new cars, and it’s fallen a little bit behind. It’s going to be a tough task the race drivers are facing this year. They haven’t made any big mistakes. Charles had a pretty good race in China, so that’s really good.”
Although Kovalainen’s job is to help the team it’s also clear that his FP1 mileage on the 2013 tyres will put him high in the list of potential replacements for any team that might require a driver.
Asked by this writer if that was a consideration, he said: “Right now of course I work with Caterham, and I don’t really look at the moment anywhere else. Before that yes I was at least hoping to be in that position. But no one’s called me yet!”
In the mean time he’s just happy to be back.
“I’ve kept myself fit and well, I’ve kept in touch with the people here. If something comes up, I’m ready to jump in. Part of that preparation has paid off. I don’t need a lot of practice now to get in, but I don’t need a lot of practice, I’m fully ready to go. That’s how it is life.
“I had different offers to do some other things, but my heart wasn’t really there yet. F1 is really just what interests me, and I felt like I could still do a lot of good things here. So I kept the door open here and working at the same time to make sure if something happens I’m ready. That’s sort of what happened now.”