Kovalainen believes Caterham need to change direction

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Heikki Kovalainen has said that Caterham should consider changing the design direction they are taking with the CT03 car after competing in FP1 for the team today in Bahrain.

Kovalainen has re-joined his old team to do some testing work, being in the perfect position to compare the CT03 car to its 2012 predecessor after racing for Caterham from 2010 until last season.

“I think it’s quite different to last year’s car,” Kovalainen said in an interview.

“Fundamentally it’s the same, obviously tires and set-up has changed. It’s quite a different feeling.”

The Finnish driver made clear that he thought the team needed to make several changes to the 2013 car, which is largely based upon last year’s edition due to the lack of changes to the regulations.

“If I was racing, I would start looking to make changes straight away to get it more how I think it should be.

“It’s more unbalanced than I experienced last year. It’s more difficult to nail a good lap. I think in qualifying, when the tires are fresh, the car is a bit more average. But to a certain extent it’s not a surprise because of the way the car has been modified.”

Kovalainen also suggested that the new tires had made the car more difficult to drive, warranting the change in design and development.

“In terms of the differences, there’s a direction. But with the tires that we have now, I’m not convinced it’s the right way to go.

“Maybe we should reconsider the set-up direction.”

Although Kovalainen may not currently have the financial backing to race full-time with Caterham, but he is in a perfect position to help the team develop their car with six seasons of grand prix experience under his belt. The one-time race winner will also be partaking in free practice at the Spanish Grand Prix next month for Caterham.

MORE: Watch FP2, qualifying and the Bahrain Grand Prix online or on your phone or tablet

Alonso enjoys maiden Toyota LMP1 test, ends as second-fastest rookie

Adrenal Media
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Fernando Alonso took his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 by testing an LMP1 car for the first time with Toyota in Bahrain on Sunday.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso has made no secret of his desire to race at Le Mans, having signed a deal to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as preparation for a possible entry at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Toyota confirmed after Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain that Alonso would be testing its TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car in the traditional rookie test on Sunday.

Alonso was given the car for the bulk of the five-hour test day following an initial shakedown by Sebastien Buemi, completing 113 laps in total – more than any other driver – and posting a best lap time of 1:43.013.

“It was a great day,” Alonso said. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.

“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that, so I am happy.”

However, Alonso did not finish as the fastest rookie, with that honor instead going to Pietro Fittipaldi, who was the final driver to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the closure of the German marque’s LMP1 program.

Alonso is now set to head back to Europe before a test in United Autosports’ LMP2 car on Tuesday as part of his Daytona preparation, before then returning to the Middle East for the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend.