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Kovalainen: New Caterham is more difficult to drive

May 5, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Caterham Formula One test driver Kovalainen of Finland walks at the Bahrain International Circuit Reuters

Heikki Kovalainen believes that the Caterham CT-03 is a more difficult car to drive compared its 2012 predecessor, citing this as the reason behind the team’s poor start to the season.

The Finnish driver drove for Caterham between 2010 and 2012, but he was dropped at the end of last season in favor of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. However, Kovalainen ran for the team during FP1 in Bahrain to gauge how the new car differed from last season’s, and he believes that many of the problems are rooted in the new Pirelli tires.

Talking to Sky Sports, Kovalainen said “I could feel that the car is more difficult to drive than it was at the end of last year.

“Of course things have changed, tires have changed, the setup has changed as a result and mainly because of these two things the car has become a bit more difficult to drive.”

Kovalainen was also confident that the upgrades the team is bringing to the Spanish Grand Prix would see them beat closest rivals Marussia, who currently occupy P10 in the constructors’ championship.

“On the other hand I could feel there was more we could use in this car and I felt that after driving the car we should be able to beat Marussia and now with the updates coming we should be in a position to beat them.”

This judgement will provide some comfort for Pic and van der Garde, who have both struggled to make much of an impact so far this season. Last time out in Bahrain, Pic impressed to finish ahead of Jules Bianchi and the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez, and he will be keen on building upon this good form with the new upgrades.

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