Simulator correlation pleases Kovalainen
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23 August 2013 – Heikki Kovalainen has expressed his satisfaction at the the progress Caterham is making with its simulator to track correlation, the Finn having taken part in the first practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix in place of regular driver Charles Pic.
Kovalainen, who lost his race seat with the team at the end of last season, was brought back in April to conduct reserve duties, aiding the aforementioned Pic and team-mate Giedo van der Garde with the development of the CT03 chassis.
Having already tested the car in Bahrain and Spain, Kovalainen says genuine progress has been made in matching the virtual car with its real life counterpart.
"I had a good feeling about the car and in certain areas it has improved a lot," said Kovalainen, who wound up 16th. "The ride of the car is better. The car is twitching less and running smoother, which was an area we have been working on. Generally the grip level of the car has improved, so we have added more performance to the car.
"Another thing I take from this is that the simulator we have is very good. I've been running the simulator quite a lot and the driving with the car felt very, very similar. We made really good improvements with the simulator which I'm very pleased about."
Of his future in Formula 1, Kovalainen said he is still pushing to make a race return, but admitted that talks to do so have not yet taken place with Caterham or rival teams.
"Right now I have not spoken to anyone. I have not spoken to any other teams and I have not spoken to Caterham about a race seat," he said. "I'm just focusing on my role. I want to race, there's no hiding that fact, but I don't let it bother me too much.
"Sometimes thing go to plan and sometimes they don't. For this year, [a reserve driver position] is what was available to me so I'm just trying to make the most of this. I feel I'm ready to race if I'm needed. If I have to jump into the car then its no problem."