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Petrov to remain at Caterham?

NEWS STORY
07/01/2013

Mat Coch writes:

Heikki Kovalainen may be missing from the grid this year if reports in the Finnish press are to be believed.

It was widely expected that Kovalainen would lose his drive at Caterham when the team fell behind Marussia in the Constructors' Championship after the Singapore Grand Prix. However, during the dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix the Leafield based squad managed an eleventh place thanks to Vitaly Petrov, leapfrogging ahead of its rear-of-grid rivals Marussia.

Tenth spot in the constructors' standings hands Caterham millions of dollars in bonuses courtesy of Formula One Management, which many had expected would see Kovalainen retained for a fourth season.

However, reports now suggest Vitaly Petrov could be confirmed at the team this week, subject to finance. The Russian had eliminated himself from the 2014 driver market when backing from Russian industry dried up, though the 28-year-old has since emerged as favourite for the seat courtesy of renewed backing from Russian Helicopters.

He appears to have beaten off the likes of Bruno Senna and Luiz Razia, new Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul seemingly preferring Petrov's experience alongside Charles Pic.

Petrov's confirmation would leave only Force India to confirm its line-up, the Silverstone-based squad having yet to confirm either of its drivers for 2013. Paul di Resta is expected to be retained, while Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi scramble for the remaining seat.

Kovalainen has taken part in 109 Grands Prix for Renault, McLaren and Caterham (Lotus), his sole success coming in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix. He was test driver at Renault from 2004 to 2006 before making his race debut in 2007. He moved to McLaren for a two-year stint in 2008 where he scored his sole Grand Prix win at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Interestingly, both have been busy on Twitter over the holidays, particularly the Finn. Both appear upbeat and far from downhearted, which is surely what one might expect if one was facing a year of watching the sport from the sidelines.

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