Kovalainen: The only team I’ve seriously spoken about next year is Caterham 15 November, 2013 Heikki Kovalainen walks Circuit of the Americas with the Lotus crew He may be racing a black and gold Lotus for the rest of 2013, but Heikki Kovalainen on Thursday played down suggestions that he could be in the running to replace Kimi Raikkonen permanently He expects to return to Caterham as a race driver. The Finn has been drafted into Lotus’ 2013 lineup for Austin and Brazil after his Ferrari-bound countryman Raikkonen opted for early back surgery. After Nico Hulkenberg declined, reportedly also considered for the two-race job was Michael Schumacher. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, however, suggested that it was never very likely that the seven time World Champion would make a third Formula 1 comeback. “It was good marketing,” the Frenchman smiled to RMC Sport, “but I would have been quite surprised if he had returned. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus driver “It was not easy when he returned for the first time,” added Grosjean. “Now, arriving late in the season for two races in a team he doesn’t know – it would have been risky,” added Grosjean. So ‘risky’, in fact, that German Hulkenberg turned down the chance. “Of course it was attractive,” he said on Thursday. “It sounded attractive from the outside.” The fact that Hulkenberg turned down the chance indicates that Lotus was giving him no guarantee that the seat would lead to a full-time role in 2014. “If I had stepped in, I don’t think [that] people would have expected me to beat Romain right away,” he said. So instead of damaging his reputation while getting up to speed, Hulkenberg passed the torch to Kovalainen, whose return to Formula 1 for 2014 seems more secure. Heikki Kovalainen won his first and as yet only grand prix in Hungary in 2008 as a McLaren driver “The only team I’ve seriously spoken to about next year is Caterham,” said the Finn. “We’re getting close to the point where we’re starting to agree the terms. “This weekend and Brazil won’t I think have a huge influence on that,” added Kovalainen. Indeed, Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul confirmed on Thursday that while the team released Kovalainen to Lotus for Austin and Brazil, the 32-year-old remains “a valued member of the Caterham family”. Coincidentally Kovalainen returns to the the Enstone based team which gave him his Formula 1 debut in 2007. At the time it operated as Renault. (GMM) Subbed by AJN. Related NewsLotus: We struggled to get good one lap paceRossi to get FP1 action in Montreal and Austin with CaterhamRenault: It’s completely unacceptable to be coming to the first race as unprepared as we areSome teams will struggle to qualify in Melbourne if 107% rule is implementedRenault invites Red Bull, Caterham and Toro Rosso to Lotus ‘promotional event’ at JerezBarrichello says he nearly replaced Raikkonen for final two racesBriatore: US GP showed that Lotus made very bad choice with KovalainenGrosjean rises to occasion and seizes role of Lotus team leaderGrosjean: I’m very proud to represent Lotus and my guys that are working in EnstoneLotus: It’s been another positive weekend for the team The Pessimist “The only team I’ve seriously spoken about next year is Caterham,”. It’s the other way around Heikki no team except Caterham are interested in your services. ZombieJebus Less talk and more results. There’s your answer Heikki.