Heikki Kovalainen will be starting his first Grand Prix on Sunday for the first time since last year's outing in Brazil with Caterham, and he's hopeful that getting the chance to be back out on track for the last two races of 2013 will be just the shop window he needs to secure himself a full-time race seat next season.

"I expect myself to perform well and I've been in F1 long enough - even if I haven't driven this year, I still expect myself to perform well and hopefully at the very limit," he said heading into this weekend's United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

However, he doesn't expect his stand-in duties taking over from fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen at short notice for the US and Brazil rounds of the season to open any long-term doors at Lotus F1.

Related Articles

"The only team I've seriously spoken with about next year is Caterham - we're getting close to the point where we're starting to agree the terms, so I think it's still the most likely option for me," he said. "This weekend and Brazil won't, I think, have a huge influence on that."

In the meantime, Kovalainen is just focussed on doing the job he was hired to do - which is to earn the team crucial points in the constructors championship battle which sees Lotus just 26 points behind Ferrari for the runners-up spot.

"I'm sure they hired me exactly because of that and to be honest if I didn't think I could do it, I wouldn't have accepted it," said Kovalainen. "The question is how quickly I can get a feel for the car and push it to the limit.

"The feeling is that I haven't had difficulties to get up to speed too much. That was one of the factors in why I wanted to do this as well, to see if I could do the same here," he added. "If I can do the same here then potentially I can get a good result."