Kovalainen did not burn Caterham bridge

Tony Fernandes (MAL) Team Lotus GP Team Principal and Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus. Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday 10 July 2011.

Tony Fernandes with Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen’s return to Formula 1 with Caterham is a good example of not burning one’s bridges.

That is the claim of the Finn’s compatriot Mika Salo, a former Formula 1 driver who has this week commented on Kovalainen’s return to Caterham.

31-year-old Kovalainen was dumped by Caterham at the end of last season as ‘pay drivers’ Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde arrived.

But the Finn returned to the paddock recently as a guest of Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes, and on Wednesday it was announced he will drive in Friday practice in Bahrain and Barcelona in his new role as team reserve.

“Definitely, it proves that in Formula 1 you should never burn the bridges behind you,” former Formula 1 driver and fellow Finn Salo, who will be the driver steward in Bahrain this weekend, told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

“I did 111 grands prix in my career with seven teams, they know and trusted me, and I never allowed myself to criticise them,” he explained.

The fact Kovalainen did not criticise Caterham in the wake of his 2012 departure has now led him back to the team.

“The point for Heikki is that he is back in the garage and also retaining the feel of a Formula 1 car,” said Salo.

“You never know what else might happen: you see what is happening at Red Bull and, if somebody leaves, everybody knows who it will be,” he added, undoubtedly referring to the ‘Multi-21’ affair and Australian Mark Webber.