Heikki Kovalainen is pleased with his performance for Caterham in free practice one today as the Finnish driver returned to the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix.
Kovalainen is a former grand prix winner, but he was dropped by Caterham at the end of last season after the team elected for a completely fresh line-up for 2013 in the form of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. However, he has remained with Caterham in their reserve driver role, testing the car and helping with development – something he was pleased to have done today at Spa.
“The weather was a little bit challenging, but we still managed to do some reasonably good work, so I’m pretty happy,” Kovalainen said. “No issues. We were able to get quite a lot of information and I had a good feel for the car.”
The Finn also noted a big step forward in the pace of the CT-03 car compared to his last practice session in May.
“There are definitely areas that have improved a lot, a couple of areas that still could be improved. The ride of the car is better, so the car is running smoother and it’s an area that we’ve been working on, so generally the grip level of the car has improved so we have added more performance to the car.”
As for a race seat in the near future, Kovalainen is unsure whether or not he will be on the grid in 2014. However, he is not worried about this as he focuses on his role with Caterham.
“It’s very difficult to say right now. I have not spoken to anyone, I have not spoken to any other teams, I have not spoken to Caterham about the race seat yet. I’m just focused on my role right now.
“Of course, I want to race, there’s no hiding about that fact, but I’m not letting it bother me too much. Sometimes things go to plan, sometimes they don’t. This year, this is what was available for me so I’m just trying to make the most of this. I feel that I’m ready to race if needed and I think today shows if I had to jump into the car, it’s no problem.”
Kovalainen will also represent Caterham during free practice one at the Italian Grand Prix next month, replacing Giedo van der Garde for the ninety minute session.