OCTOBER 25, 2012
Kovalainen's Caterham seat under threat
Heikki Kovalainen's F1 future could be threatened by Marussia overtaking Caterham for 10th place in the constructors' championship thanks to Timo Glock's 12th place in Singapore. If the situation remains the same, it could add up to a $10m hit to Caterham's finances.
Formula One's complex team prize and remuneration structure means that, in fact, if Marussia retains 10th place in the series over the remaining four races -- very likely without a freak incident-packed race -- it will make little immediate material difference to the team, but it would impact heavily on Caterham, which stands to lose its 'column two' share of the prize fund, which could be as much as $10m. The team could then be forced twards taking two drivers with a budget instead of Kovalainen, who is paid to race.
Talking in India about his recent discussions with team principal Tony Fernandes, Kovalainen admitted: "Tony hasn't said that to me and it's perhaps not that straightforward, but I think it is a possibility. He knows what he gets with me but I don't bring money. My management is still working and hopefully it will work out."
Ceterham has 13th place finishes in Monaco and Valencia, but among the teams that have not scored points, that was trumped by Glock's 12th place in Singapore for Marussia. Caterham needs to at least equal that in the remaining races in India, Abu Dhabi, the USA and Brazil, in order to take 10th place back.
"Everyone has put in extra effort since Singapore to try and get that 10th place back," Kovalainen confirmed. "I haven't taked politics with Tony so I don't know what it actually means but it does look like it's a big deal for the team and everyone is putting effort into being in a position where if anything unusual happens again, we are ina position to beat the other guys.
"We need a freak race, absolutely. Singapore was a freak race and we just weren't there at the right time.
"Ultimately the future is Tony's choice and he is evaluating the options, I think, but he is also focusing on this season. I think the 10th place is quite critical for the team. I think he needs to decide what he wants to do and whether he wants to have two drivers with budget or keep me in the team. He hasn't made that decision and it's in his camp now."
Reserve driver, Dutchman Giedo van der Garde, and Marussia's Charles Pic have also been rumoured as potential Caterham drivers in 2013.