For most F1 drivers, the future is the only thing that matters, and Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen fits that mould, perfectly. He will make his Grand Prix debut in Melbourne, in the seat vacated by world champion Fernando Alonso, and he cannot wait to line up on the grid.
“I am very happy with what I’ve done in 2006,” says Heikki Kovalainen. “In terms of what I learnt and how I improved, it was an important year for me. There were lots of opportunities that helped me prepare for the future.”
He completed more than 20,000kms of testing during 2006, and he travelled with Renault’s race team during the tense final races of last season, when it was battling for the World Championship with Ferrari. He learnt first hand how to deal with pressure.
“For me, replacing Fernando Alonso at Renault is not extra pressure,” he says. “It is a great opportunity to be competitive in my first year, which very few drivers ever get. The team will be strong, and the car will be quick. I need to stay calm and have a cool head.
“The first races will not be easy and my philosophy will be to prepare for the worst. Maybe there will be some bad races, but I will focus on things one step at a time, finishing the first race, then the second and so on. There is always pressure, wherever you race, but I have never felt it has affected my driving, and I don't think it will next year either."Source Bridgestone