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Kovalainen: McLaren will be motivated for Button

New Lotus recruit Heikki Kovalainen expects McLaren to rise to the task of supporting both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, despite not achieving success himself at the Woking-based concern
Heikki Kovalainen has admitted that he expects the McLaren team he left over the winter to 'work flat out' to provide new world champion Jenson Button with the opportunity to maintain his frontrunning form in 2010.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, the Finn refused to bad-mouth his former employer and said that he knew that Button would be made to feel welcome at Woking, but admitted that he knew the reasons why his own two-year tenure alongside Lewis Hamilton had failed to provide the race-winning performance he had expected.

"I have analysed it quite a lot myself and with the people around me, with my family and with everybody," the Lotus F1 recruit commented, "We tried very hard with McLaren towards the end of my time there, [but] it didn't work out. I don't want to get into the reason why too much, there's no point, [but] I think I know why it didn't work out for me. Now I am starting from another place and let's see how it works out."

After struggling initially at Renault, many saw the move to McLaren - in an exchange deal with Fernando Alonso - to allow Kovalainen to rediscover the sort of form that made him Nico Rosberg's closest rival for the inaugural GP2 title. However, after taking a somewhat fortuitous maiden win in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix, the Finn was saddled with an uncompetitive MP4-24 at the start of 2009, and never really made the most of the improvements that transformed the car as the year went on. Hamilton, meanwhile, recorded two victories and out-scored the regular frontrunners over the final third of the season.

"If I went back in time, I would still go to McLaren, no question about it - but I would do things very differently," Kovalainen conceded, "I felt I didn't get everything out of the team, [but] I am doing things differently at Lotus and my target is to get 100 per cent out of the team all the time. For me, it's just a new chapter in my career and I feel I am in very good shape.

"The first chassis has arrived here, and everyone is building it. The engine is here already, so there are quite a lot more people working here compared to a week-and-a-half ago when I was here last time. It all looks very positive.

"Everybody is flat-out working, because it will be busy until the first test and first race – it will be very hectic. For me, it all looks like it is progressing really well. It looks fantastic. I don't expect it to be a rocket to start with, but it looks really cool – people will be surprised when they see the car.

"I expect some tough times, especially the first half of the season, but I have to go through them. I think we have a lot of potential and that's why I decided to join. I think, in the long run, this can be a very good place for me."

Meanwhile, as Kovalainen waits for the official launch of the first Lotus F1 machine since 1994, his former team unveiled the car that it hopes will carry either Hamilton or new recruit - and 2009 world champion - Jenson Button to the 2010 title.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 5th-7th June, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen with his new personalised Lotus Evora [pic credit: Group Lotus]
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and his girlfriend Brittny Ward (USA)
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and his girlfriend Brittny Ward (USA)

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Powerline 2008 - Unregistered

January 30, 2010 3:19 PM

HK qualified a number of times in the top 5 but ended somewhere in the middle of the pack towards the end of the race. So who is to be blamed? A number of people have qualified in the middle of the pack & ended up on the podium. A bad worker always blame his tools, if not his team.

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