Heikki Kovalainen's strong Monaco Grand Prix run has left the Caterham team more optimistic than ever about its Formula 1 potential, according to boss Tony Fernandes.
Kovalainen was running 12th place in Monte Carlo, having made good progress through the first-corner crash, then held Jenson Button's McLaren at bay, remaining ahead even after Button had eight additional laps to try and build a gap before their pitstops.
Button ultimately retired following an incident with Kovalainen, who later had to pit for repairs to wing damage sustained in a clash with Sauber's Sergio Perez, although he got back out to take 13th position.
"That was one of the most tense but most exciting races we have had since we came into the sport just two and a half years ago, and to be not only racing Jenson's McLaren, but to be keeping him behind us and to be able to resist his attacks is a huge achievement for a team that is still young, still growing and hungrier than ever to succeed," said Fernandes. "In fact, when Heikki passed Jenson out of the pits that was definitely the most exciting moment in my Formula 1 career and something that I will remember forever."
He added: "I am an optimist and our pitwall is full of people who would call themselves realists - I would probably say they are pessimists, but after today I have never seen so many pessimists so optimistic about the future. A great day for sure."
Kovalainen is confident his Monaco performance will not be a one-off.
"This type of track was always going to give us the chance to fight, I'd said that before the race, and it was really good fighting with Jenson for as long as I did, keeping him behind me and really pushing," he said. "We have more to come from this car throughout the season, so I think we have more races like this to look forward to, and results like today make all the hard work the whole team put in worth it."
Caterham's technical director Mark Smith was confident that Kovalainen would have been able to hold on ahead of his rivals and take what would have been 11th place but for the clashes.
"When the rain started falling we saw Heikki's brake temperatures starting to drop and he was telling us the car was harder to control, but had Perez not hit him and caused his front wing failure I am sure he would have retained that place -- he was clearly in a very determined mood and driving to the level everyone knows he can," Smith said.