Heikki Kovalainen believes he is ready to return to a top team like McLaren
. After a difficult debut season at Renault
in 2007 in the wake of Fernando Alonso
's departure, the now 30-year-old Finn endured an even tougher two-year tenure at McLaren -- again in Spaniard Alonso's wake. He was forced to rebuild his reputation and polish his skills right at the back of the grid, but after three seasons with a 2010 startup team, Kovalainen is reportedly now open to leaving Caterham and returning to the points-paying positions in 2013.
"My focus is on maximising my performance here at Caterham and giving my best to the team," Kovalainen told the German website motorsport-total.com. "That puts me in the best possible position in the market if I want to move teams," he said. "But I don't even know what Caterham's plans are -- maybe they don't want me anymore." He insists he is not in a rush to find out, but the paddock speculation is not waiting for him. The most often-rumoured name connected with Kovalainen for 2013 is Sauber
. "It's rumours and that's all I can say," Kovalainen said. "They (Sauber) seem to be very strong this year but that's all I can say."
What about McLaren? His former team has a theoretical vacancy for 2013 at present, with Lewis Hamilton
's new contract still not signed and sealed. Or Ferrari
, who are weighing up the candidates to replace struggling Felipe Massa
? "For me, being at McLaren was a dream come true," he answered. "They are a great team, but of course so is Ferrari. Fernando is doing a great job and Massa is getting better. A top team, no question."
When pressed on the topic of McLaren, Kovalainen admitted: "I can only say good things about them, although I experienced some good times and some bad times. But I know exactly what happened at that time, and what would happen if I got the chance in the future. I would have no problem (going back). They are a great team and I am still in touch with lots of McLaren guys -- I have a very good relationship with Martin Whitmarsh, for example. At the time, everything just did not fit together, but there were reasons. Since then, a lot has changed," he insisted. (GMM)