Heikki Kovalainen's presence in the Sepang paddock three weeks ago may not have been such a coincidence after all, as paddock rumour in China suggests the Finn may be about to return to a Caterham cockpit.

Kovalainen, dropped by the team over the winter after refusing to bow to the pressure of bringing sponsorship for 2013, was a guest of Caterham owner Tony Fernandes at the Malaysian Grand Prix, sparking rumours that he may be poised to make a comeback, but the driver insisted that he was merely taking the advantage of his former's boss' hospitality to talk to rivals for 2014.

While Kovalainen was enjoying the US Masters golf tournament, however, the F1 paddock suddenly started linking him to a return in Bahrain, where it is speculated he could take part in Friday's practice sessions to help evaluate the development package that Caterham had been targeting for a Barcelona debut.

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The Leafield team is currently languishing at the back of the pack, having seen Marussia overtake it in terms of performance and, with second year driver Charles Pic being joined by rookie Giedo van der Garde for 2013, doesn't necessarily have the experience to pull it round.

The complication for Caterham could be that reserve driver Alexander Rossi - the senior member of its young driver development programme - is slated to run FP1 in Sakhir, and it is unlikely that he will be accommodated alongside Kovalainen.