Hekki Kovalainen believes Kers can make the difference for Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen is confident the addition of Kers to Caterham's 2012 car will make a significant difference to the team's progress this season.
The Kers power boost system captures energy from the brakes that the driver can reuse each lap at the push of a button – the kind of acceleration that would have brought Caterham into the midfield mix in 2011.
The Hingham-backed team are still awaiting their first championship point since arriving on the grid in 2010 and have had their first dabble with Kers during the opening winter test in Jerez.
'Kers will be very valuable,' said Kovalainen – the most overtaken driver in F1 last season. 'It's probably worth three or four tenths (of a second) on average per lap at every circuit, some maybe a bit more, some a bit less.
'But where it really counts is in the racing situations – at the starts, defending, overtaking. That's where it will be really crucial.
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'Last year we were not in a position to fight for points. Whenever I got close to say a Renault or Williams, I couldn't attack them into the overtaking area because I had no boost.
'It will definitely make a difference if I find myself in the same situation, fighting with the cars ahead of us. I will definitely be able to overtake.
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'Whether we score points or not, I can't tell you yet. I hope it's for the points. That has to be the target. But the most important thing is to be battling with the other middle to back teams, if you like, in that group and not being a step behind.''
Caterham – who raced as Team Lotus last season – endured several delays to their early winter testing last year, but on day two in Jerez it was Kovalainen who topped the lap charts after a faultless day of running in the new CT01.
'I think we are better prepared than in the other years, and the car is better prepared,'' the 30-year-old Finn told the Press Association.
'Last year we were missing some suspension parts, we had some power steering issues, but now we have a complete car here.
'We still need more grip and a more stable rear end, which we have been able to achieve at high speed. I'm able to attack more than in last year's car.
'It will now be interesting to see exactly where the pace of the car is and whether it is quick enough or not.''
Reserve driver Giedo van der Garde and Kovalainen's team-mate Jarno Trulli will complete the Jerez test for Caterham on Thursday and Friday respectively.