Heikki Kovalainen admits he can't wait to get behind the wheel of the new McLaren MP4-23 for the first time after the unveiling of the car he will use for his second season in Formula 1.

The Finn joins McLaren after a year with Renault and will team up with Lewis Hamilton in a strong looking line-up for the Woking-based squad, which will be eager to bounce back from the disappointment of its exclusion from the 2007 constructors' championship following the spying saga.

Having steadily improved throughout his debut season, Kovalainen admitted that he was excited to enter a new stage of his career with his focus on scoring as many points as possible once the season kicks off in Melbourne.

"Today is my first official event as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver and it hasn't come soon enough," he said. "After joining the team on the 14th December, I have already spent some time at the McLaren Technology Centre getting to know everybody and working with my engineers. It is also great to be here at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart today to meet the Mercedes-Benz employees, media and VIP guests for the first time as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver.

"I was able to learn a lot last year, and hope to take that knowledge into the 2008 season. I am looking forward to contributing to the development of the car during the six main tests in the build-up to Melbourne. It is a really exciting time for me to be joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

"Of course joining a very ambitious team I have to be aiming for a competitive season and to be able to fight for a good position in the championship. However the priority for me in the build up to the season is to get to know the team and understand how they work. The aim is to get to Melbourne and when the lights go off be as prepared as I can be, so that at the end of the race, whatever the result, we are able to say that there wasn't anything more that we could have done better.

"So my main aim is to prepare and then from there start to improve and score as many points as I can."



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