Lewis Hamilton says it is a "shame" that former team-mate Heikki Kovalainen is no longer in F1 as he "deserves" a drive.
Kovalainen, who partnered Hamilton at McLaren during his Championship-winning season in 2008, moved to Caterham at its inception in 2010.
However, after three years with the fledgling outfit, the Finn was left without a drive at the end of last season when Caterham opted not to renew his contract.
One person who believes it is a great loss for Formula One is Hamilton, who says Kovalainen deserves a drive more than some others who have been signed.
"When I landed and was coming to the track I was thinking to myself it's such a shame that Heikki's not here," Hamilton told Reuters.
"Definitely some other people that now have seats, I think whoever gave them the seats are crazy to think that they are better than Heikki.
"I think Heikki's got great calibre, great experience and he deserves to be here... and he's a good friend of mine so I wish him all the best in whatever he's doing."