Kovalainen: Caterham the most likely option in 2014

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Heikki Kovalainen has confirmed that he is in advanced negotiations with Caterham over a return to the team in 2014 after a season on the sidelines as their reserve driver.

Kovalainen raced for the backmarkers between 2010 and 2012, but he was dropped at the end of last season in favor of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, both of whom brought financial backing to the team. However, he decided to stay with the team as a reserve driver before getting the chance to race for Lotus in the USA and this weekend in Brazil after Kimi Raikkonen pulled out of the final two races to undergo back surgery. Nevertheless, the Finn does not believe that this stint with Lotus will have any impact on his plans for 2014.

“I think that it will not have any impact,” Kovalainen explained. “We’ve prepared the plans for next year already before these two races we’re happening. I think it will not have any impact, you never know in Formula One but my gut feeling is that it will not have an impact. I’m just trying to help the team as much as I can.”

He confirmed that Caterham would be the most likely destination in 2014 and that he is in advanced talks with the team about a full-time race seat.

“I think the most likely option is Caterham, back to Caterham next year,” he said. “Nothing has been signed, but we are quite far up the road with negotiations.

“Hopefully things get finalized soon but you never know in Formula One so it’s better not to talk about it too much until things have been signed but that has been the original plan and the Lotus thing doesn’t change it too much.”

Therefore, it is likely that we will see the likeable Finn in a full-time seat next season, and this could leave Charles Pic without a place in Formula One after he admitted earlier this week that he is not sure about his future.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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