Caterham to maintain 2012 push
Kovalainen pinning hopes on major upgrade package
By William Esler. Last Updated: 30/08/12 1:08pm
Heikki Kovalainen is pinning his hopes on major upgrades, expected to be delivered this month, from the newly relocated Caterham team to help break into the midfield.
Whilst some members of the grid are already switching their attention to their 2013 challengers, the British-based team are determined to end this year positively.
Minor updates will be brought to the CT01 at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, whilst major changes are being lined up for the night race in Singapore.
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"We are still working on this year's car flat out and we still hope to make a significant step forward," Kovalianen told Sky Sports.
"We have attempted to do it a few times, but we have not been able to deliver as big a step as we had hoped for. We have been able to improve, but not quite as much as we would like to.
"So we are working on that quite hard now - Singapore will probably be the next really big upgrade. We will have our revised car there - revised aerodynamically especially and hopefully we will start to actually challenge the teams ahead of us regularly and not only at certain circuits."
The team used the summer break to relocate from Norfolk to Leafield, and have now made the former Arrows and Super Aguri factory their home in Oxfordshire.
The Finn is sure that the move to bigger facilities, which will initially house Caterham's F1 and GP2 teams, will be of major benefit to them in the long-term.
"I think it will make a big difference. It will give the people a better facility, better tools to do their work, so I think it is a significant step forward as well," the 30-year-old added.
"Whether that will be seen before the end of the season I don't know, but, for sure longer term, it is a big move for the team and hopefully as soon as possible we will see the benefits of it."
Whether Kovalainen will be around long enough to see those benefits is another story. The Finn is out of contract with the team at the end of the season and has been linked with a move away from the Caterham to a more competitive team - with some even touting the former Renault and McLaren driver as a replacement for Felipe Massa at Ferrari.
"There is no news yet," he said. "We still haven't really spoken to Caterham and we haven't spoken to anyone else properly. So we are waiting a little bit and will see where we are first. I'm not in a rush. I've just got to make sure I keep my performances in the right area and my focus will remain on that.
"Then at some point we will sit down with Caterham and see what the plans with them are and then we will know more."
For now, Heikki is focusing on a gruelling finale to the F1 season, with nine races coming up in the next 13 weeks.
"It is going to be very tough and very demanding for the teams. I think for the drivers it is also demanding, but, we do get it easier, with time off between the races - at least a day or two. It is worse for the mechanics, they have to work long hours.
"Personally I feel my experience from the past means I will be able to ensure I keep my energy levels at the right level and I have no doubt I won't have any problems.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back into the car and getting going. It will be interesting to see how everyone is coping - a small lack of focus can make a big difference so it is important to stay sharp."