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Kovalainen's future in doubt

NEWS STORY
24/11/2012

Mat Coch writes:

Heikki Kovalainen's Formula One future is in doubt after the Finn admitted he was not willing to become a pay driver in order to secure a seat. On Friday Caterham announced Charles Pic as one of its drivers for 2013, though it has yet to confirm whether or not Kovalainen will remain with the team for a fourth season.

Currently eleventh in the Constructors' Championship, Caterham is ineligible for any of the financial perks afforded to teams who finish inside the top ten. It's a situation which is understood to have cast doubt over Kovalainen's future as the team looks to cover a potential shortfall in prize money.

"If this is the last race it's a shame," said the Finn. "The situation is quite a tricky one for me."

Most leading teams have already secured their 2013 driver line-up. However, there remain several vacancies. Force India has yet to choose to partner Paul di Resta. Marussia has an opening, though it's believed this will go to Max Chilton, the Briton able to bring financing to the team. It is not expected HRT will see the beginning of the 2013 season, with most expecting the Spanish squad to close its doors on Monday.

It leaves Kovalainen precious few options, and stiff competition given the likes of Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna are working to remain in the sport, while Adrian Sutil is looking to return after a year's sabbatical.

But while Kobayashi has appealed to the fans in an attempt to raise the funds to remain on the grid next season, Kovalainen has ruled out a similar move.

"I told my manager not to actively find money," the Finn admitted. "I don't think it leads to anything. If you had a big backer like Santander, and they went with you to a team then that's a different thing. But to collect the money in a pot for one season, to me it doesn't really do anything.

"I still have a good relationship with Tony (Fernandes, Caterham owner) and everyone at the team, so it could well be that I stay here (at Caterham)," he continued. "But just from my experience, I know how things are in Formula One and when things get late it's never a good sign. That's why I don't really push it too much at the moment.

"We are looking at other options," he claimed, "but even other options require some money and I don't want to go (down) that route.

"The situation now in Formula One might not fit for me," said the former Grand Prix winner. "There's nothing really I can do about it."

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