Struggling Caterham rehires Kovalainen as reserve driver

© AP, 17 April 2013
© Steven Tee/LAT Photographic/Caterham

Heikki Kovalainen has rejoined Caterham as a reserve driver and American Alexander Rossi has replaced fellow reserve driver Ma Qing Hua in GP2 in a shake-up for the struggling Formula 1 team.

A former McLaren and Lotus driver, Kovalainen last raced for Caterham in 2012 when the team didn't score a point.

“Tony (Fernandes), Cyril (Abiteboul) 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,” Kovalainen said. “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."

The team said the 31-year-old Finn will take part in the first practice in Bahrain and Spain.

"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," Kovalainen said.

The team said it would soon announce a new role for Qing Hua, the only Chinese driver in F1 who finished last in his only GP2 race in Malaysia.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said Kovalainen's six years of experience can provide support for its young drivers and help the team better assess the changes in tyres from 2012.

"Having invested in Heikki for our first three years of competition it would be a waste not to leverage the valuable expertise he brings," Abiteboul added.

 

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