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Kovalainen not opposed to McLaren return

Heikki Kovalainen maintains that his mind remains on the job at hand with Caterham, despite being linked to several seats further up the F1 grid.
Heikki Kovalainen has said that his focus remains on doing his best for the Caterham team over the rest of 2012, but admits that that can only help put him in the shop window for a more competitive ride in the future.

The Finn took the option of joining Tony Fernandes' nascent team ahead of its debut as Lotus Racing in 2010 after losing his ride alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren to Jenson Button, but has made the most of the opportunity to shine in a tail-end operation to raise his stock with those teams at the other end of the grid. Kovalainen has been the only driver among the six at Caterham, Marussia and HRT to even show the potential to make it through to Q2 without the assistance unpredictable conditions and, while he has yet to score a point for the Leafield squad, has begun to be linked to more potent seats for 2013.

The latest suggestion is that Kovalainen, a former Renault and McLaren driver, could be headed to Maranello to replace Felipe Massa alongside Fernando Alonso, but the Finn joins a long list of names in that queue - and Massa may not even been ditched. More recently, it has been suggested that Sauber could be a better fit for the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner [see story here], and Kovalainen does little to dismiss the speculation linking him to Hinwil.

"It's rumours and that's all I can say," he told Germany's Motorsport-Total.com, "[Sauber] seem to be very strong this year, but that's all I can say. My focus is on maximising my performance here at Caterham and giving my best to the team. That puts me in the best possible position in the market if I want to move teams. I don't even know what Caterham's plans are - maybe they don't want me anymore...."

Unexpectedly, Kovalainen has also been mentioned in connection with a return to McLaren, which could find itself looking for a driver should either Hamilton or Button jump ship. While that seems unlikely, despite both also having been mentioned in connection with a Ferrari role, Kovalainen insists that there are no hard feelings in his relationship with Woking's finest.

"For me, being at McLaren was a dream come true," he admitted, "They are a great team, a top team - no question. I know exactly what happened at that time, and what would happen if I got the chance in the future. I would have no problem [going back]. They are a great team and I am still in touch with lots of McLaren guys, [and] I have a very good relationship with Martin Whitmarsh. At the time, everything just did not fit together, but there were reasons. Since then, a lot has changed...."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, British F1, Silverstone, 19th-21st, June, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Monaco F1 Grand Prix, 21st-24th, May 2009
29.07.2012- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
20.07.2012 - Free Practice 3, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
27.07.2012- Free Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT01
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36

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August 10, 2012 3:48 PM

I can't help but feel that when Heikki leaves Caterham, it'll be a huge problem for them. Is there anyone with the raw speed to come close to Heikki? Especially considering the drivers that would even consider joining Lotus.

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