Formula 1

Heikki Kovalainen hints a Caterham return in 2014

Kovalainen is close to agreeing terms with the Caterham team (©GettyImages)
Kovalainen is close to agreeing terms with the Caterham team (©GettyImages).

Ahead of making his return to full-time racing for Lotus at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen is claiming he will likely be racing in 2014.

The Finn, who is replacing Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races, has largely been tipped for a return to racing with his parent team Caterham for 2014, speaking on Thursday it looks as if the Finn’s future is looking more secure.

“The only team I’ve seriously spoken about next year is Caterham,” said the Finn. “We’re getting close to the point where we’re starting to agree the terms.

“This weekend and Brazil won’t I think have a huge influence on that,” added Kovalainen.

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul confirmed that while he released the former GP winner to Lotus for the final two races, Kovalainen remains ”a valued member of the Caterham family”.

Meanwhile Nico Hulkenberg has spoken about why he turned down Lotus’s approach for the final races claiming it was “too risky”.

“Of course it was attractive,” he said on Thursday. “It sounded attractive from the outside.”

Indeed it is understood that Lotus were offering no guarantees that two good drives in Austin and Brazil would lead to a full time drive in 2014.

“If I had stepped in, I don’t think people would have expected me to beat Romain right away,” he said.

Another driver who was approached was seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, his value has increased since watching Nico Rosberg’s performances alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2013 but Romain Grosjean believes a return was never likely.

“It was good marketing,” the Frenchman smiled to RMC Sport, “but I would have been quite surprised if he had returned.

“It was not easy when he returned for the first time,” added Grosjean. “Now, arriving late in the season for two races in a team he doesn’t know — it would have been risky,” he claimed.

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