Jerez: Heikki Kovalainen deserved to stay in Formula One and Caterham were 'crazy' to discard him, according to the Finn's former team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The two friends were together at McLaren in 2008, when the Briton won his world championship, and in 2009 before Kovalainen moved to new entrants Lotus Racing (now Caterham) in 2010.
"When I landed and was coming to the track I was thinking to myself it's such a shame that Heikki's not here," Hamilton, now with Mercedes, told reporters before the start of pre-season testing at the Jerez circuit. Definitely some other people that now have seats, I think whoever gave them the seats are crazy to think that they are better than Heikki. I think Heikki's got great calibre, great experience and he deserves to be here...and he's a good friend of mine so I wish him all the best in whatever he's doing."
Caterham, whose Malaysian founder Tony Fernandes has given up his team principal position to focus on business interests that include the AirAsia budget airline and Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers, have an all-new line-up for this season. Frenchman Charles Pic, a rookie with Marussia last year, will be partnered by Dutch debutant Giedo van der Garde with both drivers bringing sponsorship with them whereas Kovalainen refused to contemplate becoming a 'pay driver'.
The Finn won one grand prix in his time at McLaren, in Hungary in 2008. He also had a second place finish with Renault in 2007 and McLaren in 2008. Caterham have yet to score a point in the team's three seasons under various guises. They have also dropped the sport's sole Russian driver Vitaly Petrov.