Kovalainen set for FP1 outings at Belgium, Italy

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Heikki Kovalainen will have his third and fourth free practice 1 outings coming up at the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix for Caterham. He also took the wheel of the CT03-Renault at Bahrain and Spain earlier this year.

The Finn will deputize for Charles Pic this weekend before taking over for Giedo van der Garde at Monza in a couple weeks.

Caterham’s made significant gains over the course of the year and have pulled away from fellow tail-ender Marussia, but do not yet have a better result to eclipse Marussia for 10th in the Constructor’s Championship. Kovalainen’s input should be able to help push the team a little bit further, even if it will still take a lottery for Caterham to finish in the top 10 or 12.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.