Heikki Kovalainen harmed his chances of staying in F1 beyond 2012 by demonstrating a lack of ‘respect’ to Caterham.
That is the claim of Mike Gascoyne, the team’s former technical boss who now oversees the technical operations of the entire Caterham Group.
After three years at the back of the grid with Caterham, Finn Kovalainen – now managed by IMG – attempted to secure a better seat for 2013 but ultimately now faces dropping out of F1 altogether.
Gascoyne confirmed speculation Caterham is considering replacing the 31-year-old with a so-called ‘pay driver’.
‘We realise what the game is,’ he told the motorsport news website crash.net. ‘People (teams) boom and bust easily.
‘We have come in and done a very steady job compared to other new teams and have been professional, but we’ve taken a step back and said “OK, we are not going to get there straight away, we need to manage our budgets, manage investment and build up our resources so we are here for the long term”,’ Gascoyne said.
It is believed the favourites to become Frenchman Charles Pic’s teammate this year are Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna.
‘It is actually a great shame,’ Gascoyne said. ‘Heikki is a very talented driver but, last year, his management did not handle him very well and he has not done himself any favours.
‘He has had three years with Caterham, was paid well, and he should have shown more respect about that.’