Finn hopes new team can earn the respect of rivals next season:
Heikki Kovalainen gives his reasons for joining Lotus and outlines the new outfit’s goals ahead of their first season in Formula One.
You are entering your fourth season as a Formula One race driver by joining a brand new team in Lotus F1 racing – what factors were behind your decision to join the team?
“For me there were a couple of major factors – (team principal) Tony (Fernandes) and (chief technical officer) Mike (Gascoyne) being the two leading figures in the project, and the backing behind the team were both very important, and having spoken to both of them I became aware that the whole operation has a lot of potential, and a very good chance of being a successful team in the future. I saw Lotus F1 racing as the best choice for me to progress my career, after considering several other options that were available to me.”
What have you seen of the team so far?
“I have visited the base of the team, as well as meeting Tony and Mike, and I can see that everyone involved is very motivated, excited and happy to be pushing this program forwards. The team has ambitious plans for the future and everyone will see Lotus F1 racing in Bahrain GP as a professional, competitive yet very humble group of intelligent individuals.”
What do you think of your new team-mate Jarno (Trulli)?
“I have known Jarno for many years now and I think together we can push the team forwards very quickly, and develop our car and the team in a professional way.”
Do you have any specific targets for your first season with the team?
“I always race to win and I will do everything as if I was preparing to put the car on pole, but of course we have to be realistic and keep the focus on developing the team to a state where we can operate like any other current top F1 team. It will not be easy and we will have tough times at the beginning, there’s no question about it, but as long as we keep improving all the way through the year and have the earned respect of the other top teams on the grid, then we can be pleased about the first year.”
Does the Lotus name add any pressure on you or the team?
“Well maybe at the beginning we will get away with some difficulties, but of course Lotus has been a winning team in the past and, like I said earlier, the team has ambitious plans to become successful, so after a little while we need to be making progress to keep the Lotus name at its current high status.”
Source: Lotus F1 Racing