Aug.8 (GMM) Heikki Kovalainen believes he is ready to return to a top team like McLaren.
After a difficult debut season at Renault in 2007 in the wake of Fernando Alonso's departure, the now 30-year-old Finn endured an even tougher two-year tenure at McLaren -- again in Spaniard Alonso's wake.
He was forced to rebuild his reputation and polish his skills right at the back of the grid, but after three seasons with a 2010 startup team, Kovalainen is reportedly now open to leaving Caterham and returning to the points-paying positions in 2013.
"My focus is on maximising my performance here at Caterham and giving my best to the team," Kovalainen told the German website motorsport-total.com.
He insists he is not in a rush to find out, but the paddock speculation is not waiting for him. The most often-rumoured name connected with Kovalainen for 2013 is Sauber.
"It's rumours and that's all I can say," Kovalainen said. "They (Sauber) seem to be very strong this year but that's all I can say."
Or Ferrari, who are weighing up the candidates to replace struggling Felipe Massa?
"A top team, no question."
When pressed on the topic of McLaren, Kovalainen admitted: "I can only say good things about them, although I experienced some good times and some bad times.
"But I know exactly what happened at that time, and what would happen if I got the chance in the future.
"I would have no problem (going back). They are a great team and I am still in touch with lots of McLaren guys -- I have a very good relationship with Martin Whitmarsh, for example.
"At the time, everything just did not fit together, but there were reasons. Since then, a lot has changed," he insisted.