Two more practice runs for Kovalainen

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Heikki Kovalainen will drive for Caterham during Friday practice sessions at the next two races.

Kovalainen will take over Charles Pic’s car in tomorrow’s first practice session at Spa-Francorchamps. He will also drive in first practice for the following race at Monza, taking over Giedo van der Garde’s car.

This will be the second time this year Kovalainen has done a pair of practice sessions for the team. He previously drove in practice for the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.

Kovalainen drove for Caterham (previously Lotus) between 2010 and 2012.

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Image © Caterham/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

14 comments on “Two more practice runs for Kovalainen”

  1. I read this theory somewhere: in 2012 they knew that 2013 would be an ‘in between’ year. So they decided to put focus on developing the ’14 car rather than the ’13 car (which is an updated car from last year). For this they needed money, so they replaced Kovalainen for pay driver Vd Garde. In 2014 Kovalainen will replace Vd Garde, so in 2014 Caterham will have the driver they wanted in a properly developed car.

    1. Sounds like a convoluted explanation intended to explain away a popular (if underperforming) driver losing his seat in such a way that it was always supposed to be a part of the plan. Kovalainen might have had the upper hand over Trulli in 2011, but the two were actually pretty evenly-matched in 2010, and likewise with Petrov in 2012.

    2. ….that will still be slower than the mid field teams :-)

    3. That is plausible. However, Mike Gascoyne and some others have stated that his management were part of the problem and consequently he has parted ways with ING management. As much as I’d like to see him back, it’d be nice to see someone like Felipe Nasr/Sam Bird/or someone else from GP2 to make their way into F1.

      1. Nasr has got backing from Brazil and with talent should surely make it onto the grid. I wonder if only once Massa departs and he is placed as the next Brazilian driver – I can’t see Brazil not having representation on the grid. Alternatives would be for Senna or Razia to come back into F1. Bird, I can see being a long time Mercedes test driver/perhaps moving to DTM, to replace someone like Wickens/Juncadella, who will make a move in the F1 direction.

        I have heard of this theory, and it sounds plausible, I think if Caterham had started in 2009 they would have been on the tail of the midfield quicker if not a lot nearer, given a starting point similar to the other teams. Only the diffuser tricks really kept them back – DD, EBD. But there was a financial meltdown in 2007-8.

        I think Kovalainen-Pic is their strongest lineup at the moment, And a promising one could be Pic-Rossi in a few more years. VDG will get up to speed after a season or two but I’m not sure he has that much time, unless his backing keeps him in the seat over the relatively sponsorless (Angry Birds!) Kovalainen.

        1. Yeah I’m sure Nasr will make it onto the F1 grid, he’s incredibly consistent. Sometimes he needs to just fight a little harder but he’s surely got the talent. Bernie actually told Nasr that he needs a Brazilian in F1 and told Nasr to talk to him if he needs anything. I personally hope Wickens gets that spot with Williams for their young development driver, he’s got the talent. It’s a shame for Sam Bird, he’s got the Mercedes backing but is just in the right place at the wrong time, there doesn’t seem to be a space opening for him. Maybe as a 3rd driver for Force India like Di Resta?

          What do you mean by financial meltdown in 2007-8? Do you mean in F1 teams generally? I do agree, also, they started from scratch – ask Tony Fernandes said, at first it was just him, Mike and a dog. So they’ve done all right when you think about it.

          Yeah Rossi seems to be doing well, I still think Heikki has a good chance of returning, they seem to have just carried on with last years car and are predominantly focussing on next years rule changes.

      2. Mike Gascoyne made those comments while talking about all the non-f1 Caterham work he’s doing, like Road cars and sailing.

        Wonder what his explanation for his change of career was? :-)

        1. What do you mean? Non-f1 work that Heikki was doing?

  2. Kovalainen shouldn’t be wasting his time in a backmarker team IMO, he won’t be going anywhere :/ He may have failed to shine at McLaren but he did manage to drag the Lotus/Caterham to about 12-14th place several times when it shouldn’t have been better than 18th-20th; won’t a decent team notice his talents already?

  3. I’m honestly not with the general consensus in that I don’t really think Kovalinen is particularly deserving of an F1 seat: absolutely he’s better than van der Garde but there are far more promising young drivers out there more deserving of a seat. He had a decent run but I think he should stay consigned to the testing role (which he is invariably good at).

    1. True, at least I can think of: Wickens, Frijns, Calado, F. da Costa, Magnussen, Coletti out of Coletti/Leimer/Bird, Nasr, Evans in a couple of seasons, Marciello in a couple of seasons, Juncadella given a bit more time, the list can go on and on. Rossi, Ellinas, Vandoorne..

      1. @fastiesty exactly – the only thing he would undoubtably be useful for is as a yardstick for development but talent would supersede that very swiftly indeed. Even Rossi I’d say would be a better bet in the long run.

        1. Yeah – pit Kovalainen against the faster driver (likely Pic), then Rossi against the winner of that battle (likely Kovalainen). The only hitch being that Pic and VDG bring the sponsors, whereas Rossi perhaps only has a link to the General Electric technology transfer. So it could end up as Pic-Rossi rather than Kovalainen-Rossi. But I agree, at least Kovalainen has had an above average F1 career.

  4. I’m so happy Caterham F1 Team have finally called back Heikki! Wlecome back in F1 Please, he should be given that seat already ;-)

Comments are closed.