Heikko Kovalainen will return to the Caterham F1 Team as a part of the team’s reserve driver line-up, marking his comeback to the team with whom he competed for the last three Formula 1 seasons.
As the team languishes at the back of the field with its CT03 challenger, the Finn will drive the car in the opening practice session at the next two Grands Prix in Bahrain and Spain to help the team evaluate and develop its troublesome car.
According to a team media release, his appointment comes “as part of a formal technical development role” to aid the team – and its drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde – in improving its fortunes. The team currently sits in last place in the Constructors’ Championship standings behind Marussia, and will release a major upgrade at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“It’s obviously great news that I’ll be on track in Bahrain and Spain and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work and helping the team as much as I can,” the one-time Grand Prix winners said.
“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’s appointment has led to a restructure in the team’s reserve ranks. He will now work as a peer to the already-appointed reserve driver Alexander Rossi (pictured left), who was scheduled to drive in Bahrain and Spain.
Meanwhile, test driver Ma Qing Hua – who drove in FP1 at the Chinese Grand Prix – has had his role as the team’s test driver reshaped, losing his seat in the Caterham Racing GP2 team to Rossi.
“Well my year just got very interesting,” Rossi – who was frustrated at previously not having an opportunity to race in 2013 – wrote on his Twitter feed.
“Honored to be racing with Caterham Racing GP2 while continuing my program with Caterham F1.”