Caterham F1 Team that former race driver Heikki Kovalainen is rejoining the team as one of the two Reserve Drivers, alongside current Reserve Driver Alexander Rossi who moves to Caterham Racing in GP2. The Finn will also take part in FP1 at Bahrain and Spain.
Rossi will to compete in the 2013 GP2 Championship in the car raced by Ma Qing Hua at the season opening GP2 race in Malaysia.
Ma Qing Hua, who recently made history by becoming the first Chinese racing driver to take part in an F1 race weekend in China, 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.
Heikki’s first duties will be to take part in FP1 at the forthcoming Grands Prix in Bahrain and Spain. The Finnish driver 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.
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team: “After Ma’s successful run in FP1 in China a number of new opportunities have arisen for him and we have decided to restructure our current line-up. Alexander moves to Caterham Racing to compete in GP2 and I am sure he will be an immediate success in that championship whilst he will continue to enjoy the link with the F1 team throughout the season. Heikki returns to track work with us and we are delighted to welcome him back into the team. He has six years of F1 experience behind him so he is perfectly placed to provide us objective feedback on the various types of configurations we will run and to give us an objective view of the 2013 tyres against his experience with the 2012 compounds. Having invested in Heikki for our first three years of competition it would be a waste not to leverage the valuable expertise he brings. As F1 is a team sport, he will also provide support to Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, who are both doing a good job in their first months with the team.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “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. 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.
“Tony, Cyril 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. 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. I’m looking forward to getting back to work!”