Kovalainen: Caterham the most likely option in 2014

Leave a comment

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.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
Chris Owens/IndyCar
Leave a comment

James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”