Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Heikki Kovalainen, stepping off the course at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club back in October, cut short his visit to the Masters at Augusta, Georgia after Ian Poulter went out early.
Heikki Kovalainen, stepping off the course at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club back in October, cut short his visit to the Masters at Augusta, Georgia after Ian Poulter went out early.

Heikki Kovalainen puts golf in his rear-view mirror for now with return to Caterham

After losing his seat in the off-season, Heikki Kovalainen gets back in back with Caterham after agreeing to take part in opening practice at the next two grands prix to help develop the cars. The Finn takes some time to answer some questions from Gary Meenghan.

 

After losing his seat in the off-season, the Finn is back in the car Friday after agreeing to take part in opening practice for Caterham at the next two grands prix. We caught up with him to find out what he has been doing since December and inquire about his expectations this week.

 

q - Welcome back. How did this arrangement come about?

a - I never wanted to leave F1 in the first place and we talked about it for a long time. At the very beginning, I wasn't interested in this kind of [development] role, but when you are sitting at home watching other people driving the car, you think, 'Well, I could have a go'. Just before Malaysia, I spoke to Tony [Fernandes, the team owner] and it all came together relatively quick.

 

Do you see this as the first step to a return to racing?

There are no plans to race at the moment. I will drive Fridays and help the team as much as I can. Of course, I want to race in the future and being here puts me in a better position if there was ever a race drive available here or even somewhere else.

 

You have vastly more experience than the two Caterham drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo Van Der Garde. Have you considered what might happen if you start posting much quicker lap times?

I haven't worried about that too much, because there is no plan to race now. I'm here to help the drivers, so my role's different to what it was. Naturally, if I'm pushing them, that makes them even quicker. Everyone who gets to F1 is at a certain level of skills; I just have more experience. The guys don't necessarily know how good this car could be, or if it is at its maximum already, so that's how I'll help.

 

You lost your seat because the current drivers were able to bring sponsorship money. Does that still frustrate you or are you over it and moved on?

I was OK with it from the very beginning. I made my position very clear from the start and said if it leads to not having a race drive, then so be it. I kept fit, though, and kept in touch, so if something came up, I'm ready to go. I had different offers to do other things - endurance racing, rally, etc. - but my heart wasn't in it yet.

F1 is what still really interests me, so I kept the door open.

 

Will you just be appearing on Fridays or are you going to be helping at the Caterham factory, too?

I'll be doing some stuff in the simulator. I was supposed to be at the Masters [golf tournament at August, Georgia] all weekend last week, but because [Ian] Poulter didn't make the cut, I had to leave early and did a run in the simulator instead. It is a good kit they have now, much better than last year. I actually thought about a pro golfing career, but I figured out I wasn't making enough money, so I better come back!

 

 

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

 

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE and @GMeenaghan

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National