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Caterham brushes off van der Garde, Kovalainen rumours

The continuing speculation that Giedo van der Garde may be replaced at Caterham by Heikki Kovalainen after the summer break has been played down by team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
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."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
26.07.2013- Free practice 1, Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team CT03
25.07.2013- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT03, Test Driver
(L to R): Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Caterham F1 Team Principal with Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham and Giedo van der Garde (NLD) Caterham F1 Team.
29.06.2013- Qualifying, Giedo Van der Garde (NED), Caterham F1 Team CT03
05.07.2013- Free Practice 1, Giedo Van der Garde (NED), Caterham F1 Team CT03
21.09.2014 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
21.09.2014 - Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 retires from the race
21.09.2014 - Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 retires from the race
21.09.2014 - Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 retires from the race
21.09.2014 - Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 retires from the race
21.09.2014 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T leads Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
21.09.2014 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04 leads Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
21.09.2014 - Race, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
21.09.2014 - Race, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
21.09.2014 - Race, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03 leads Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
21.09.2014 - Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber F1 Team C33 and Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
20.09.2014 - Free Practice 3, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Caterham F1 Team CT-04

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JJJ

July 27, 2013 6:50 PM

Silly rumours really. Granted, Pic has had the better of vdG so far this year, but the difference is not that big. VdG has also shown some promise for instance with the Q2 appearance in Monaco. Some guys like Chilton and Guttierez have done far worse. Lastly, in the FP sessions Kova did, he didn't show any more pace than the current drivers, in fact he was quite slow. Sadly this last fact isn't allowed to be said it seems...



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