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Kovalainen: It's like night and day

"When comparing the mood in the garage and the team's progress from a year ago, it's like night and day," reveals a bullish Heikki Kovalainen - as Team Lotus prepares to upset the applecart in F1 2011
Heikki Kovalainen has described the difference between the Lotus Racing of twelve months ago and the Team Lotus that is heading into the fast-approaching F1 2011 World Championship campaign as 'like night and day' – as he insisted that he is 'more convinced than ever' that his decision to join the team was the right one.

Of course, it was quite a contrast for Kovalainen to leave a team that has won the world championship on no fewer than 20 occasions – twelve drivers' crowns and eight constructors' trophies – in McLaren-Mercedes to one that had never so much as begun a grand prix before this time last year in Lotus, and his descent from the forefront of the grid to making up the numbers was arguably the biggest fall from grace of any driver in the field.

However, the Finn's steely determination, ever-sunny outlook and impressive raw pace and racecraft in F1 2010 did much to repair the damage that had been done to his reputation by the bruising comparison with Lewis Hamilton over the previous two seasons – and he is confident that the progress and potential of the new Mike Gascoyne-designed, Renault-powered T128 in testing thus far will fully vindicate his occasionally-criticised move and enable the Anglo/Malaysian outfit to close the gap to the midfield contenders.

“In terms of speed, the car looks a lot better than where we were a year ago,” the 29-year-old told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, in upbeat spirits after encouragingly lapping just 1.8 seconds adrift of the outright pace during pre-season testing at Jerez last week – and a scant six tenths shy of McLaren pairing Hamilton and Jenson Button – as he placed a head-turning sixth on the final day.

“The balance is much better, it has more grip and it can be driven harder. The chassis is also much more modern and the engine, gearbox and hydraulic system have been completely upgraded – we are now at the level that a modern F1 car should be. I'm not thinking about whether or not we are going to catch up with Toro Rosso, Force India or Sauber, but my personal goal is to score points in those races in which it is possible.

“When comparing the mood in the garage and the team's progress from a year ago, it's like night and day. I'm really happy with it. As a team we have definitely taken a step forward, which I expected. I am more convinced than ever that the move to Lotus was a good decision.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
12.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
12.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus
12.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
13.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
12.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Press conference, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
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20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22

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almaaaaa - Unregistered

February 17, 2011 11:39 PM

@ Richard Richard, at least PRETEND to act like your using that noodle of yours. What choice does he have? Selling the name alone isn't enough, because if you give up the name, you are giving up EVERYTHING that comes with it, MOST IMPORTANTLY sponsorships. Of course its about money! Why not Genii call themselves Team Genii or Genii GP? They are using the Renault name for the same reason that Tony is using the Lotus name.



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