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F1: Fear Prompts Kovaleinen Return To Caterham

Heikki Kovaleinen lost his drive at Caterham at the end of last season, in the current financial climate the team felt it had to employ two drivers who brought more funding to the table. As a result Charles Pic and Giedo Van der Garde got the nod for race seats, whilst Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua became official test and reserve driver for the team.

And that's how things would have stayed but for the collapse of Luis Razia's sponsorship deal with Marussia. The Brazilian was ditched by the team and replaced by Jules Bianchi, a rather different prospect with the promise of a glittering career ahead of him.

Bianchi immediately changed the game at the back of the field - easily winning the min-race within a race that is the battle for superiority and 11th place in the constructors championship. At times the Frenchman has been more than a second faster than those he is racing and certainly looks like he might score a point somewhere this season.

For Caterham this is a disaster - its traditionally been the fastest of the tail-end teams and packing the same Championship winning Renault engine as Red Bull and Lotus it should be. The loss of prize money for 11th place to the Cosworth (read slow) powered  Marussia team would have a serious impact on its financial viability going forward.

Sensibly the team are re-evaluating their position.

Hua is gone. Kovaleinen is back as test and reserve driver and will drive in Free Practice 1 for both the Bahraini and Spanish Grand Prix. My guess is that the team need to find out whether the car is the problem or its drivers. By putting Kovaleinen in they eliminate one variable and can decide how far away they are from the Bianchi/Marussia pairing.

If Kovaleinen is able to get closer to the Marussia hot shot I expect either Pic or Van der Garde to get the boot - possibly even by the time the teams get to Spain.

Replacing a pay driver with one who has earned his seat on merit is certainly something that any race fan should applaud. So let's see what this weekend brings.


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