Heikki Kovalainen has conceded that he will have a little bit of catching up to do in 2008 as he settles in at McLaren.
Kovalainen, who made his debut at the pinnacle of the sport this season with Renault, had a tough start to his rookie year, however he improved steadily, with his first point coming in Malaysia and further top eight finishes followed regularly thereafter, culminating in a sparkling second in the rain of Fuji.
In the end he finished seventh in the drivers' championship, having notched up 30 points in total, 9 more than his former team-mate, the experienced Giancarlo Fisichella.
Speaking to British tabloid newspaper, The People
, the Finn added that while his new team-mate, Lewis Hamilton
probably will have a bit of an advantage early on, as he knows the team and all the mechanics, he is not concerned about any favouritism.
"I have no worries that the team will be one-sided with Lewis," Heikki confirmed. "I'm not the right person to comment on what happened between Fernando [Alonso] and Lewis and I'm not going to get involved.
"All I want is a fast car that I can drive as quickly as possible so that I can challenge our rivals, so I don't think Lewis and I will have any problems.
"I'm looking forward to racing with Lewis next season because he is a very strong driver and clearly he is one of the favourites for the championship. I want to build a relationship with the team so that I can be competitive as well, even if he is going to have a little bit of an advantage.
"I think I will have a little bit of catching up to do. I might have a little bit more experience in a F1 car but he has done a season now and he knows what he's doing so I don't think it makes a difference.
"I want to stay with McLaren
as long as possible. It has been my favourite team since I was a kid and I always wanted to be part of this team. Now I want to make the most of the challenge and make sure that nothing goes wrong."
Asked if he thinks he will gel with Lewis, Kovalainen stated that he isn't anticipating any issues and that he is hopeful they can have some 'fun' away from the track: "I'm sure there will be a good relationship between myself and the team, including Lewis. I don't think there are going to be any problems," he continued.
"I know Lewis a little from karting although I never raced against him. I have spoken to him very briefly since I signed. Hopefully, we can push each other to the limit on the track but then off it I hope we can have a laugh and a bit of fun."