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Heikki Kovalainen: “I can’t wait for...

By Renault F1
March 15 2007

The Finnish driver will be thrown in at the deep end in Formula 1 when free practice begins on Friday morning. He talks about how he feels with just a few hours to go to this defining moment.

Heikki, in a few hours you’re going to slip into the Renault as a works driver for a grand prix. How do you feel?
HK: “I’m pretty relaxed but focused. The grand prix begins tomorrow and for me the most important thing is not to make any mistakes. I feel I’m well prepared both psychologically and physically. Giancarlo and I did a lot of training in Australia last week to fine-tune our condition and get over the time difference. Now, I’m champing at the bit for the action to begin. I can’t wait for tomorrow!”

Have you walked round the track with your engineers? 
HK: “Yes; it’s a Renault tradition. The drivers and engineers walk round the track to examine everything in detail, take notes and visualise the line. I’ve never raced on the Albert Park circuit before, so this was very important. Normally the team does this on Thursday but there was action on the track today so we did it yesterday instead.”

Did you note anything in particular? A difficult corner, for example?
HK: “Overall, I think it’s a pretty difficult track to memorise and learn. The chicane at the end of the circuit where Felipe Massa tripped up last year looks fairly tricky. For the rest, I’ll have to wait until I do the first few laps in the car to get a better idea.”

In Bahrain the R27 appeared a to be a bit off the pace the first week but then you came back with a bang at the end. Why?
HK: “We did a lot of work on the set-up and we made good progress in getting the best out of the tyres. There’s no secret to it...”

So it wasn’t a new mechanical part or different aerodynamic development that made such a difference?
HK: “All the new parts were on the car that I crashed on my first time day of the second test!”

What are your objectives for tomorrow?
HK: “I don’t want to rush, to go too quickly too soon. The rules allow us to use an engine just for Friday alone, and this should enable us to rack up the miles and obtain a lot of information. It’ll be very useful for me.”

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