Giedo van der Garde plays down Heikki Kovalanien's influence during 2013

Pair could yet be team-mates for the 2014 campaign

Last Updated: 17/12/13 1:04pm

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Giedo van der Garde says prospective 2014 team-mate Heikki Kovalainen "didn't bring as much as we expected" when the experienced Finn was drafted in for a handful of Friday practice sessions by Caterham in 2013.

Caterham are the only team on the grid yet to confirm either of their drivers for next season with 2013 incumbents Van der Garde and Charles Pic seemingly in a three-way fight with Kovalainen to fill the two vacancies.

After being dropped at the end of 2012, Kovalainen returned to duty at Caterham as early as April when he was invited to test the under-performing CT03 in order to "help support the introduction of the first performance updates to the 2013 car".

Caterham's performances duly improved as the year progressed but according to Van der Garde the feedback from Kovalainen was no different from his own.

"I think it was always normally the same sort of comments about the car that I had had. It was good to have him around because he had a lot of experience but in the end he didn't bring as much as we expected," the Dutchman told Sky Sports F1.

It remains to be seen, meanwhile, whether Kovalainen returns to Caterham on a full-time basis in 2014.

"Nothing has been signed but we are quite far up the road in our negotiations," Kovalainen told Sky F1. "The ambition has to be the midfield for the team in 2014 and if we are not there it will be very disappointing for everyone."

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