Heikki Kovalainen’s poor form shown during his two-race stint as Lotus’ ‘super sub’ played a part in costing him a full-time return to the Caterham F1 Team.
The Finn – who had served as Caterham’s reserve and occasional Friday practice driver during the 2013 season – was helicoptered into the Lotus race seat for the final two Grands Prix to substitute for his compatriot, Kimi Räikkönen.
With the Enstone team needing high-scoring races in order to snatch third place in the Constructors’ Championship from Ferrari, Kovalainen – rather not surprisingly – struggled in the unfamiliar machinery and failed to finish in the top-ten at either event.
In turn, Caterham’s off-season driver deliberations saw it replace both its full-time drivers with new signings in the form of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson, both of whom bring considerable financial backing to the team.
Kovalainen had publically indicated his refusal to court sponsorship dollars to aid his return to the grid, however, given the sport’s current financial climate, it’s a decision few think is sensible.
Speaking of the team’s new driver line-up, Caterham’s founder, Tony Fernandes, confirmed that Kovalainen’s rusty outings in Texas and Interlagos were factors in its decision not to retain his services.
“Obviously we would lie if that we said it didn’t play a part,” he told AUTOSPORT.
“It was a whole mixture of a lot of things but in any decision there are pros and cons. I am egalitarian, I put it out to various team members – there were those pro Heikki and those pro Kamui and I had to make a choice.
“We have to move on, we have to be a little bit cold, if we want to be successful.”
Image via Motorsport.com