Caterham F1 Team has announced a restructuring of its drivers with former racer Heikki Kovalainen coming back into the team, initially to drive in Friday morning practices at Grands Prix and to give technical feedback on Caterham’s new technical package due in Barcelona. Reserve driver Alexander Rossi will move over to race in GP2 for Caterham Racing, taking the seat of Ma Qing Hua.
Kovalainen raced for Caterham for three seasons, but left the team at the end of 2012 as it took on two young drivers with budgets, Charles Pic and Guido van der Garde. Kovalainen’s presence will increase the pressure on the pair to perform as well as supplementing the technical feedback from the cockpit.
With Pirelli set to introduce and extra set of tyres for Friday morning drivers from Spain onwards, there could be a lot more action on track in these sessions.
According to the team, “(Kovalainen) will take part in the sessions as part of a formal technical development role he is taking up with Caterham F1 Team, helping support the introduction of the first performance updates to the 2013 car, an important milestone in the strategy the team are working to in the current season.”
The team has had a very disappointing start to 2013; it has been the backmarker so far this season, as Marussia has taken a step forward, although Pic managed to finish ahead of Max Chilton in China last weekend.
The team planned for a new technical package, their 2013 car proper, to appear at the fifth round of the season in Barcelona and in preparation for that Kovalainen will drive on Friday morning in Bahrain and then again on Friday morning in Spain in order to provide technical development feedback to ensure that the new package gets up to speed as quickly as possible.
According to a statement from the team, Ma Qing Hua “remains a core member of Caterham F1 Team’s driver roster and an announcement about his revised race plans in 2013 will be made in due course.”