Two less than inspiring fill-in performances last season apparently cost Heikki Kovalainen a return to a full-time Formula One ride in 2014.
According to AutoSport.com, Kovalainen lost a chance to go back to driving full-time with Caterham this season based upon his finishes as a replacement driver for Kimi Raikkonen.
Kovalainen had raced full-time for Caterham from 2010-12 before being shifted to a reserve role last season.
When the opportunity arose to replace the Lotus-powered Raikkonen, a fellow Finn, for the final two races of last season, Kovalainen’s performance was marginal at best, finishing 14th at both Austin and Interlagos.
As a result, Caterham team principal Tony Fernandes elected to offer 2014 rides to Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson, leaving Kovalainen with nothing – not even a return to last season’s reserve role with the team.
“Obviously we would lie if that we said it (Kovalainen’s showing at Austin and Interlagos) didn’t play a part,” Fernandes said of making his eventual decision. “It was a whole mixture of a lot of things, but in any decision there are pros and cons.
“I am egalitarian, I put it out to various team members. There were those pro Heikki and those pro Kamui and I had to make a choice.”
Kovalainen continues to look for another ride, but given the start of the F1 season is just over a month away and teams have finalized their main driver and reserve lineups, odds are not in his favor.
Fernandes conceded the whole process admittedly was “cold.”
“We have to move on,” he said. “We have to be a little bit cold if we want to be successful.”
Here’s a video of Kovalainen’s run at Austin in November: