Heikki Kovalainen says Caterham should be beating Marussia with their current car
Finn will drive car again in first practice in Spain
By William Esler. Last Updated: 04/05/13 1:00pm
Heikki Kovalainen spoke to Ted Kravitz as he provides assistance to Caterham.
Heikki Kovalainen says Caterham should be beating Marussia and has backed the team to move comfortably ahead once when their update package is introduced in Barcelona.
Having been dropped by the backmarkers at the end of last season, the Finn has returned to the team to give feedback and sampled their 2013 car for the first time during Practice One in Bahrain.
Kovalainen drove the basic CT03 in the session and lapped six tenths of a second slower than Charles Pic who had an updated model. Whilst the grand prix winner admits the car is more difficult to drive than its predecessor, he thinks there is more performance in it than Pic and Giedo van der Garde are finding.
"I could feel that the car is more difficult to drive than it was at the end of last year," he told Sky Sports F1.
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"Of course things have changed, tyres have changed, the setup has changed as a result and mainly because of these two things the car has become a bit more difficult to drive.
"On the other hand I could feel there was more we could use in this car and I felt that after driving the car we should be able to beat Marussia and now with the updates coming we should be in a position to beat them."
When it became apparent that Luiz Razia was going to lose his seat at Marussia when his sponsorship failed to arrive, Kovalainen was mooted as a potential replacement. However, the Finn says he never held serious talks with the team.
"They were never serious talks, so it was never really an option," he added.
"I didn't actually actively talk to other teams. I talked to Caterham for quite a long time, right up until they announced the other driver [Giedo van der Garde] and never really held any serious talks with anyone else."
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Kovalainen also dispelled rumours that he lost his race seat with Caterham after falling out with Team Principal Tony Fernandes.
"No it is false - I never fell out with him," the 31-year-old said.
"I didn't agree with what they were offering me this year, I didn't agree with Tony on that, but I never fell out with him.
"Then at some point, I think it was at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying when the weather was quite tricky, I sent a message to Tony and said 'I would have been in Q2,' and then we started discussions about it again and he said 'would you like to come and test our car'."