Heikki Kovalainen says he is hopeful of a strong weekend for Team Lotus in Singapore, albeit without the drama that saw his race end in a ball of flames.
The Finn saw his car catch fire in the closing stages of the race and he was then forced to bail out on the start/finish straight before grabbing a fire extinguisher to put the flames out.
While he expects the action to be hot once again this time around, Kovalainen said he was eager to ensure there was no repeat of his dramatic exit last year with Lotus aiming to try and get closer to the points under the Singapore lights.
“I'm really looking forward to getting back to South East Asia and particularly Singapore,” he said. “I like the heat and we have a lot of support in Singapore so it's a race the whole team is excited about. Last year was obviously a pretty spectacular end to the race, maybe a little too hot even for me and not quite how I'd like it to have finished, but there were a load of cool photos from the fire and we ended up winning the LG Moment of the Year prize for a shot of me putting it out.
“This year we go with a similar goal to last year – have a solid weekend, make sure we're there at the end of the race to take advantage of whatever happens around us and do our best to push the guys ahead.”
Team principal Tony Fernandes said he was pleased with the way his outfit has continued to make improvements behind the scenes and admitted it would be a dream if Kovalainen or team-mate Jarno Trulli
were able to score this weekend.
“One of the most pleasing aspects for me over the last couple of races has been to see the improvements in the garage and on the pitwall that have seen us perform quicker pitstops, turn the cars around during and in-between sessions more quickly and efficiently, and make the right strategic calls at the right time,” he said. “This was particularly true in Italy where Jarno performed particularly well all weekend but was robbed of a higher position by bad luck and Heikki also gave his all, giving us 120% all weekend and helping us show what we can do when the opportunities arise.
“Drives like those, and every step forward for the team, are all part of the process of our development, and while we are working very hard behind the scenes to put all the pieces in place for the next phase of our growth, the team is working equally hard under intense pressure at the races and back at the factory and it makes me very proud to see how far they have already come. The icing on the cake now would be a point - perhaps we can win the LG Moment of the Year for 2011 by recording our first points finish, that really would be daring to dream!”