Heikki Kovalainen has been one of the revelations of recent years. A product of the Renault Driver Development (RDD) programme, which he joined in 2002, the Finn has achieved every one of the objectives he has been set – and his reward comes in the form of his opportunity to prove himself at the highest level, in Formula 1.
He began his F1 career with tests in the R24 and R25 as he made his way up the motorsport ladder with Renault’s support. Now, after a season on the sidelines as test driver for the Renault F1 Team, the Finn has been given his big chance with a race seat in the world champion team.
In 2005, Heikki finished the inaugural GP2 series in second position – only losing out to his title rival on the final weekend. His speed, his consistency in race conditions and his ability to withstand pressure impressed all onlookers. What’s more, even before the start of the final race, he maintained his smiling demeanour, shaking hands and joking on the grid. He is a thoroughly modern driver, for whom speaking to the media, meeting sponsors and signing autographs are part of the job. He understands that these obligations go hand in hand with achieving his dream out on track. And he’s not about to change now.
Make no mistake, though, motor racing runs through this young man’s veins: Heikki simply loves racing. He comes from a modest family background, knows that his new job is an immense privilege – and doesn’t want to waste the opportunity. With his feet firmly on the ground, Heikki will stay the same man. Expect him to be modest, professional… and with a smile never far away.
At the wheel, the Finn has put in some exceptional performances. At the Nürburgring in 2005, he won the GP2 race… from 17th on the grid! He took a gamble on strategy, and his consistent race pace, coupled with an ability to look after his tyres, brought him the win. During last year’s test programme with the Renault F1 Team, he demonstrated just as many qualities, running tirelessly to help the team evaluate new developments. He has completed his apprenticeship in the best possible conditions, and now it’s time to put his skills to good use at the highest level.Source Renaultf1 Pictures are available in our gallery:
http://www.f1technical.net/gallery/v/Re ... 27/Launch/