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Kovalainen: My seat isn't at risk!

His Team Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli might have been 'rested' for this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in favour of reserve driver Karun Chandhok, but Heikki Kovalainen is adamant the same fate will not befall him
Heikki Kovalainen has issued a swift denial that just like team-mate Jarno Trulli, he too may find his Team Lotus seat under threat at some stage over the remainder of the F1 2011 campaign – emphatically insisting that such a scenario 'is not an option' and that he 'will not accept that my car is given to someone else'.

It was announced on the eve of this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring that Trulli – who has struggled for pace for much of this year, largely due to difficulties in getting to grips with the power steering system on the Renault-powered T128 – would be 'rested' for the race in favour of Team Lotus reserve driver Karun Chandhok [see separate story – click here].

Schools of thought on the topic are that it is either a veiled warning to the veteran Italian to up his game, or else the 37-year-old former Monaco Grand Prix-winner was persuaded out of his cockpit for the weekend on the promise of a new deal for 2012. Either way, Kovalainen – who lapped well during Friday practice in Germany, placing 17th in FP1 and 18th in FP2 – is confident he will not find himself in a similar kind of situation.

“It is not an option,” the Finn told Turun Sanomat. “There is no such agreement, and I will not accept that my car is given to someone else. I accept [having to vacate the car for a practice session], even though I don't really like it. If next year we are driving for points, then I think we should do all of the sessions, but right now, if you miss a practice it's not so critical.

“I'm pleased with today's performance – it was one of the good Fridays. We completed more laps than anyone else out there, and the car has felt good all day. I can feel that we have made a decent improvement to the back of the car, which helped us find a good balance pretty early on and it was working well on both tyre compounds, so this goes down as a good day's work.”

Chandhok, for his part, is expected to relinquish the #21 car again to its regular occupant Trulli for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring in a week's time – and may or may not return to the grid for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at the end of October – but he palpably enjoyed his practice running at the Nürburgring, hoping that it might just have been the first step towards even bigger and better things to come.

“It's about building for the future,” the 27-year-old enthused. “I assume they want to see how we work together as a team. I admire [team principal] Tony Fernandes' vision to build a team of Asian people, drivers and engineers, and he seems very committed to the objective.

“Today was a good day of learning. The main area I've been looking at is the brakes – we use a different material here to my previous team, so I think that's why I've maybe ended up with quite a lot of square tyres! I had a few 'moments' under braking, and a couple of lock-ups, but that's what today was about – getting used to the tyres and the brakes and easing myself into a place where I can start to push.

“Over the day, I improved my time from this morning by over 1.5 seconds, so I'm pleased with that, and now I'll work with the engineers to find more time and keep pushing forwards tomorrow.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
21.07.2011- Jarno Trulli (ITA), Team Lotus, TL11
08.07.2011- Friday Practice 2, Jarno Trulli (ITA), Team Lotus, TL11
25.06.2011- Saturday Practice, Jarno Trulli (ITA), Team Lotus, TL11
08.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Jarno Trulli (ITA), Team Lotus, TL11
Karun Chandhok, Team Lotus, F1 2011
08.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Test Driver, Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11  and his father
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11  and Narain Karthikeyan (IND), Hispania Racing F1 Team, HRT, Test driver
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus
21.07.2011- Press conference, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus

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Edward - Unregistered

July 24, 2011 11:06 PM

Kovalainen: Giving up my seat 'not an option' Kovalainen proved today he is just a journeyman Team Lotus need to press the refresh button and get some new blood in their cars, or they will never ever score a single point

steve - Unregistered

July 23, 2011 3:49 AM

One question Habib. Are you high? Heikki is easily the best driver on the new teams, and the only one to make it to Q2 in qualifying. He is a fine driver and while he may not challenge for wins, he is certainly taking the fight to the midfield these days in a KERS-less car. Trulli on the other hand needs to go, a once renowned qualifying specialist, he's lost it and his race pace is nothing. Very glad to see Chandhok back in, and hopefully Lotus gets him more race time over Trulli.



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