Kovalainen returns to Caterham cockpit for Bahrain and Spanish practice
© Caterham F1 Team
|17 April 2013 by TF1T Staff | M||Tweet
Heikki Kovalainen will return to the cockpit of the Caterham car in Bahrain and Spain after his former team confirmed the Finn will undertake practice duties.
The Finnish driver, who was dropped at the end of the 2012 season, will initially take part in both the Bahrain and Spanish Friday practice sessions to evaluate the latest upgrades.
"It's obviously great news that I'll be on track in Bahrain and Spain and I'm really looking forward to getting back to work and helping the team as much as I can," said Kovalainen.
"I'll be taking part in the two FP1 sessions in Bahrain and Barcelona to give the team my input on the new parts we're bringing to those races, and I'll be working closely with the race drivers and the engineers on track and back at Leafield to help everyone get the most out of the new package.
"Tony, Cyril and I have been talking about me taking up this role for quite a while, so it's good to finally be able to announce how I'll be helping the team in 2013. I'm physically ready to get back into the car and I know my experience can help give the team new ideas and options for directions to take on setup and strategy. I'm looking forward to getting back to work!"
The outfit has chosen to replace reserve driver Alexander Rossi, who will now compete in GP2 with the Caterham team taking up Ma Qing Hua's seat. The Chinese driver, who took part in the Chinese GP FP1, will retain his reserve role at the F1 team.
"After Ma's successful run in FP1 in China a number of new opportunities have arisen for him and we have decided to restructure our current line-up," confirmed team principal, Cyril Abiteboul.
"Alexander moves to Caterham Racing to compete in GP2 and I am sure he will be an immediate success in that championship whilst he will continue to enjoy the link with the F1 team throughout the season.
"Heikki returns to track work with us and we are delighted to welcome him back into the team. He has six years of F1 experience behind him so he is perfectly placed to provide us objective feedback on the various types of configurations we will run and to give us an objective view of the 2013 tyres against his experience with the 2012 compounds.
"Having invested in Heikki for our first three years of competition it would be a waste not to leverage the valuable expertise he brings. As F1 is a team sport, he will also provide support to Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, who are both doing a good job in their first months with the team."