Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul appeared surprised when asked on Friday about the speculation surrounding the continued presence of Giedo van der Garde in the team's driver line-up.

"This is the first time I'm answering this," he said at the team press conference at the Hungaroring on Friday afternoon following the end of free practice, when asked about the rumours that Heikki Kovalainen might return to the team after the August break in place of the Dutch driver.

"I think the situation is quite straightforward," he continued. "Apart from the fact that we have young drivers in the seats and a reserve driver who is more experienced, I think our structure is quite clear.

"Having said that, it's true that the two drivers we have are two young drivers, one has a bit more experience than the other," he conceded, referring to van der Garde's current team mate Charles Pic in the other Caterham. "One has some challenges with tyres, obviously Giedo, and we have to see how the changes to the tyres this weekend are affecting him but also how the upgrades to the car are affecting his challenge.

"But just like everyone, he's being challenged, just like I am challenged on a daily basis by our shareholder," he said. "So like everyone, he has to deliver but he has no particular pressure, no more pressure than any other driver on the grid."

Earlier in the week van der Garde himself had dismissed rumours that his race seat was under threat, saying that he had "a really good contract" and that his sponsors were doing their part in funding his drive at Caterham.

"The team is happy with how everything is going," he insisted, adding that there was no substance to the rumours that his position was under threat. "It is not easy for a rookie, but we take it step by step."

Van der Garde's position may have been bolstered by news that Kovalainen himself has told reporters that he's unlikely to turn out for any more Free Practice 1 sessions this season as he did at Bahrain and Spain earlier in the year.

"I think not," the 31-year-old told Russia's Championat. "It was because it was proving quite difficult for the team to assess some of the new items at the start of the championship ... Now there is no such need, so I don't think I will be driving again on Friday."

But Kovalainen has also said that his focus remains on returning to an F1 race seat and that he still wasn't tempted to look at alternative sports cars championships such as DTM or the FIA World Endurance Championship.

"At the moment, no," he said. "My only concern is F1. This year already I had a lot of suggestions from different series, but my heart is in F1."

But he added that he wasn't about to become a pay driver to achieve his return: "I have never looked for money to get a seat. I didn't do it before, and I will not do it in the future," he said, adding that he believed a lack of sponsorship money to buy a race seat was the only reason he was still kicking his heels on the sidelined in the F1 paddock in 2013.


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