The team has so far struggled to match the Banbury based squad for pace but showed promise last weekend in China where Pic managed to match fellow Frenchman Bianchi.
Kovalainen returns to the team in a bid to discover and solve the issues with their car. The Finn will also help to develop the new upgrades and narrow the gap to Marussia.
When asked in the official FIA driver press conference if Kovalainen’s return to the team was welcome, Pic replied “Yes, of course I welcome him. I think it’s always good to have his advice, he’s got a lot of experience so I’m sure he can give us some interesting feedback.”
Pic knows that the team are now where they want to be but he is interested to see how the car runs in Bahrain and how much progress they have made so far. “I think on the first three races for sure we are not happy with where we are at the moment and updates are coming for this race… so it will be quite interesting to see how reacts the car here. Then we need to progress here of course.”
The team is bringing upgrades to Bahrain but their big step up will come when the Formula 1 field moves to Europe for the first non-fly away race of the season. However he understands how hard it is to read whether or not the upgrades will work but he is determined to get the best out of the car in qualifying and the race. “Yes, of course. It’s always really hard to tell what will do the upgrades before running them but normally they should bring something and our job will be to try to optimise the car around them this weekend and get out one hundred percent of speed on Saturday and Sunday.”
Interestingly, Pic admitted that he has yet to speak to Kovalainen since his role was announced despite the Finn flying out to Bahrain ahead of the Grand Prix.”No, I didn’t speak to him for the moment.”
However he added that he will be watching closely and listening in detail to the feedback given by Kovalainen after his run in Free Practice 1 due to his knowledge and experience with Formula 1 machinery. “I think what will be interesting is tomorrow when he will drive the car because as I said, he’s got a lot of experience and he will be able to bring his experience and also knows the team for three years. I think it’s always good to take, and then after we have to be focussed also on the race, to make a good weekend.”
The move by the Leafield based team to draft Kovalainen in could be seen as a kick in the teeth for both drivers. Pic and van der Garde obviously bring youth and money but not the vital experience needed to steer the team forward. Could Caterham be realising now that they have made a mistake? It seems so and it goes down to the old “desperate times call for desperate measures” saying, they need to find the pace somehow and Kovalainen is evidently the best man for the job.
Image courtesy of Caterham F1 Team