Kovalainen could leave Caterham

Finn refusing to rule out a move to a bigger team in 2013

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 02/07/12 9:04am

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Heikki Kovalainen has refused to rule out leaving Caterham at the end of the season if a seat in a quicker car becomes available.

The Finn has previous experience of a front-running car, having driven for Renault in 2007 when Fernando Alonso moved to McLaren before replacing the Spaniard once again at McLaren the following season.

He secured his only F1 victory to date in 2008 at the Hungarian Grand Prix with the Woking-based team, but was replaced by Jenson Button ahead of the 2010 season and joined the newly formed Lotus Racing team (now Caterham).

His performances for the F1 new boys have won Kovalainen many admirers with some leading pundits now tipping him for a move back to a leading contender.

Ahead of the recent European Grand Prix, Sky Sports F1 HD's Martin Brundle commented: "Heikki has just keep his head down and delivered, he looks a superstar, and he drives like one. I think Heikki has staked a claim for another chance in a top team."

The 30-year-old agrees that he is performing well, but expects other drivers to make the first move in what could be an interesting merry-go-round ahead of the 2013 campaign.

"I haven't spoken to any of the teams yet, not even to my team yet," Kovalainen told Sky Sports.

"All I know is my contract is finishing this year with my current team, but at the moment I am just worrying about getting the most out of what I have got.

"Whatever happens, I think that will put me in the best position either with the current team or with some other team, but we aren't at that stage yet with myself or my management.

"We haven't looked at it seriously, I think it is a bit too early and there are a few guys ahead of me in the queue, things like what Lewis (Hamilton) will do or what Michael (Schumacher) will do, will probably have an impact on what everyone is doing.

"We haven't talked to anyone yet, no one has talked to us yet and at the moment I am just focusing on my performances.

"Regardless though I think my performances have been good, I think I have found my swing again in the Formula 1 paddock and that is good for the future.

"Teams expect drivers to deliver and I feel that is what I am doing now. Let's see what the future will bring, regardless though it will be good."

For now, though, the Caterham driver is focusing on Silverstone, and is hopeful the team can be competitive after a strong showing in Valencia last time out.

"Since the beginning of the season I don't think anyone in our team has been satisfied with the level of performance," he added.

"Everybody was working more and felt that we could do better, but what I think has been good about it is that everyone has pulled together and worked extra hard and fixed the problems as quickly as possible.

"Obviously that is the right thing to do at that moment and I can see that the team is making the right kind of changes, the right kind of improvements in the right areas where I think we need to improve.

"I think Valencia showed that we are definitely on the right track and hopefully Silverstone is another step forward and we can keep on this kind of momentum. I think we are gaining momentum but it is important to keep that momentum up as well."

Kovalainen was able to mix it with the Toro Rossos during the race after out-qualifying both of them at the European Grand Prix and he is hopeful Caterham are moving closer to the midfield pack.


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"I think first of all we need to confirm the pace we had in Valencia at Silverstone as it is a completely different type of circuit, so we need to confirm that our car is performing on the high speed circuits as well.

"Once we do that, and if we can do that at Silverstone, hopefully we will be even closer to a few more cars, then a small gain will be a big step forward.

"I am quietly optimistic, fingers crossed, but I think we are better to wait and see before we make too many predictions.

"We've done that in the past, talked about big points and big upgrades and we haven't delivered but I think in Valencia, we didn't talk about it too much and we actually delivered and it is better that way and hopefully we can do the same at Silverstone."

One problem for Caterham could be the lower temperatures forecast for the British Grand Prix, which Kovalainen thinks will have a major impact on the tyres.

"The last race was very hot and we had been battling with overheating the tyres, but I think at Silverstone it will be the opposite and we will be battling to keep them hot enough," he said.

"It is going to be a different kind of weekend, but everything is ready for that, so hopefully we can have a good one."

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