But Kovalainen struggled, and despite Caterham wanting an experienced non-pay driver at the wheel this year, that job went to Japanese Kamui Kobayashi.
"I think it's quite a difficult situation for Heikki now," Vilander, a Finnish sports car and former GP2 driver, told Finnish radio Nova.
"If I had to say yes or no, then I would say that formula one is now in the past for him," he added.
"The Lotus seat at the end of the season was not good PR for Heikki. We know that jumping into a new car at the end of a season is difficult, but he should at the minimum have scored points," said Vilander.