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Kovalainen about his McLaren experience


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#1 kosmos

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:36

There is and article in motorsport-total.com (english translation via Planet F1), I'm puzzled about this:

"At the time we just did not fit, but there were reasons. Since then, a lot has changed."


What is he talking about?. :confused:


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#2 Cool Beans

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:48

He's saying things have changed, would be insane for him to say he's exactly the same now as he was when he pretty much sucked at Mclaren. It means 'my past performances sucked so ignore them and hire me, I'm a totally different driver now, honest'.

Whether it's true or not who knows with that crap car he's driving :well:

#3 Disgrace

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:48

He has been saying that quite frequently this year, in sharp contrast to the last two years at Lotus/Caterham whereby he would only affirm his loyalty to his current team.

He is simply trying to keep up the hype that he is somehow worthy of another go in a top F1 car, which he isn't when you have unproven talent waiting for such cars.

#4 Buttoneer

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:03

He's simply saying here that he's better than he looked against Hamilton in those seasons.

Kovi has been fantastic at Caterham and deserves another chance. For me, he's been one of this seasons stand out performers.

#5 Risil

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:05

In the second half of 2007 he drove very well for Renault, and IMHO he showed a lot of promise with Mclaren in '08. Only his second season in F1 and Jenson Button showed how badly those can go when your career's being disrupted. 2009 was a disaster but with Lotus/Caterham the team's improved year-on-year. It has no rivals whatsoever though so it's more difficult than usual for an outsider to judge how well he's really doing.

I don't know if I rate him as highly as I rate Glock, but they're both quite lucky that the pressure from drivers outside F1 is relatively low.

That quote isn't particularly newsworthy though, any F1-watcher with half a brain could see there were problems with the Kovalainen/Mclaren relationship, and Heikki doesn't seem interested in giving more detail. Probs because he's still got a career.

#6 ali_M

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:13

In the second half of 2007 he drove very well for Renault, and IMHO he showed a lot of promise with Mclaren in '08. Only his second season in F1 and Jenson Button showed how badly those can go when your career's being disrupted. 2009 was a disaster but with Lotus/Caterham the team's improved year-on-year. It has no rivals whatsoever though so it's more difficult than usual for an outsider to judge how well he's really doing.

I don't know if I rate him as highly as I rate Glock, but they're both quite lucky that the pressure from drivers outside F1 is relatively low.

That quote isn't particularly newsworthy though, any F1-watcher with half a brain could see there were problems with the Kovalainen/Mclaren relationship, and Heikki doesn't seem interested in giving more detail. Probs because he's still got a career.


Kova reminds me a lot of Fisi. They do well in the midpack. However, once at the front with the other frontrunners, they don't manage. My guess is mental strength and what it takes to compete effectively with the dominant driver on the other side of the garage.

#7 Slowinfastout

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:20

Kovalainen is clearly shopping for another ride, but I'm still to be convinced that good teams are actually looking at him.

For those who say he is doing great, how can you judge? His team is in a position where you're gonna notice any small peak in performance but you're not gonna care at all the other times where they just are in their own bubble.

We'll see, I think anyone potentially looking to sign him and get him out of Caterham will do a proper analysis of how good his performance actually is, and compared to who.

#8 Slowinfastout

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:23

Kova reminds me a lot of Fisi. They do well in the midpack. However, once at the front with the other frontrunners, they don't manage. My guess is mental strength and what it takes to compete effectively with the dominant driver on the other side of the garage.


Kova beat Fisichella in a straight fight though.

Personally I draw parallels to Barrichello's career.

#9 Risil

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:39

Kova beat Fisichella in a straight fight though.

Personally I draw parallels to Barrichello's career.


Barrichello's got a bit in common with Fisico though. In the sense that if you just watched their best performances, you'd be convinced they had what it takes to win world championships. It's easy to dismiss this but at the beginning of all their F1 careers many of us were convinced they could. The reason that they didn't comes down to an undefinable mix of mental strength, ruthlessness, team relationships and sheer luck.

#10 fabr68

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 14:13

There is and article in motorsport-total.com (english translation via Planet F1), I'm puzzled about this:



What is he talking about?. :confused:


I think he is giving hints that sometimes he was treated like a lapdog (i.e. clear no. 2)

#11 rossbrawn

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 14:15

I think he is giving hints that sometimes he was treated like a lapdog (i.e. clear no. 2)


Because that's exactly what he was.

#12 ali_M

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:09

Barrichello's got a bit in common with Fisico though. In the sense that if you just watched their best performances, you'd be convinced they had what it takes to win world championships. It's easy to dismiss this but at the beginning of all their F1 careers many of us were convinced they could. The reason that they didn't comes down to an undefinable mix of mental strength, ruthlessness, team relationships and sheer luck.


Except for the 'sheer luck' part for which I'd instead put consistence and the ability to make things happen for oneself through personal leverage and standing up for what one wants, I agree completely.


#13 SmokeScreen

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:25

I think he is giving hints that sometimes he was treated like a lapdog (i.e. clear no. 2)


PR exercise and why not? He has to say he is a better driver now and probably reckons that if Jenson, WC with 12 yrs experience can have the problems he has had this half season then that should place his Mclaren performance, with less experience under his belt, into context – Monaco would not have done him any harm either. Good luck to him.

Perhaps his problem was that he went there already intimidated (virtually a rookie under a dodgy TP while trying to fill Alonso's boots, believing the media "Mclaren+Lewis backyard" hype, didn't work hard enough in the non-driving aspects? who knows). now he has been a number 1 in a team and seen how Jenson's fared against Lewis, he will build on his own experience and that of others.

Re Lapdog comment: interesting that one of “rumours” being passed as fact from those days was that he was consistently overfueled in qualifying compared to his teammate. Dave Robson http://www.mclaren.c...ched-in-hungary
seems to debunk that “fact” - surely if there was a no2 strategy in place for him then at Silverstone, of all places, the team would have made sure to enforce it rigorously.



#14 Red17

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:34

Kovalainen is clearly shopping for another ride, but I'm still to be convinced that good teams are actually looking at him.

Heiki got an exit clause on his new contract. Basically Caterham needs to deliver now or he leaves.
However, the top field is still very much locked out. The only 2 seats with some question marks are Massa and Kimi. One of those may free up the spot Heiki is looking for.

#15 ali_M

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:41

Heiki got an exit clause on his new contract. Basically Caterham needs to deliver now or he leaves.
However, the top field is still very much locked out. The only 2 seats with some question marks are Massa and Kimi. One of those may free up the spot Heiki is looking for.


There's Schumi's potential seat! :p

#16 artista

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:46

Heiki got an exit clause on his new contract. Basically Caterham needs to deliver now or he leaves.
However, the top field is still very much locked out. The only 2 seats with some question marks are Massa and Kimi. One of those may free up the spot Heiki is looking for.

Kimi? You already want to send him out of F1? :confused:

Anyway, a few days ago a German site (Motorsport-total.com) were speculating about Kovalainen being in talks with Sauber. The author of the article is not very trustable, but every now and then he gets one right.

#17 Red17

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:47

There's Schumi's potential seat! :p

I was under impression that Schumacher himself or someone at Mercedes had already said he would stay for another year. Or maybe they just used the ambiguous «could».

#18 Menace

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:49

There's Schumi's potential seat! :p


Has Schumi even confirmed he will continue past this year?

Kimi's seat is in no doubt... :lol:

#19 Menace

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:50

Kimi? You already want to send him out of F1? :confused:

Anyway, a few days ago a German site (Motorsport-total.com) were speculating about Kovalainen being in talks with Sauber. The author of the article is not very trustable, but every now and then he gets one right.


Sauber, Mercedes, Ferrari. I think those are the only realistic teams unless something shocking happens with Hamilton.

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#20 Red17

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:50

Kimi? You already want to send him out of F1? :confused:

Better correct this one before the Kimi gang comes out.
I said Kimi's seat which is at Lotus/Enstone. There were a lot of rumours about Kimi moving «up», not moving «out». Luca may be crazy enough to take Kimi back and pair him with Fernando. It's Didier Gilles all over again.

#21 Menace

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:51

My opinion is that Kovalainen is a much better driver now then during his Mclaren stint, where he DID often get fueled higher then Hamilton despite his qualifying struggles.

He has beaten every teammate bar Hamilton quite convincingly, including this season (enter Petrov fans, 1...2...3...) . :up:

#22 Vesuvius

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:57

Heikki is highly respected in the paddock and was voted for 9th best driver of the grid last season by team bosses so his stocks have raised a lot. Heikki said he was mentally not ready during McLaren time and is now mentally very strong and ready for a new chance.Kovalainen is also still higly respected at McLaren, recently Martin Withmarsh and Lewis Hamilton both praised Heikki...people seem to forget that Heikki over one lap was on level of Lewis during McLaren days (but was fuelled so much heavier that it was hidden many times from spectators) and Lewis considered to be one of the fastest out there over one lap, Heikki's troubles were on race pace and that he destroyed his tyres but since then he has developed on that area and knows now how to take care of tyres. Also Heikki beated Jarno Trulli last season in qualifying 15-2 and Trulli has always been considered as one lap special and one of the fastest qualifyers in formula 1.

Edited by Vesuvius, 10 August 2012 - 16:01.


#23 rossbrawn

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 15:59

Better correct this one before the Kimi gang comes out.


:rotfl: :up: .

#24 rossbrawn

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 16:02

Kova reminds me a lot of Fisi. They do well in the midpack. However, once at the front with the other frontrunners, they don't manage. My guess is mental strength and what it takes to compete effectively with the dominant driver on the other side of the garage.


I agree :up: .

#25 artista

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 16:06

Better correct this one before the Kimi gang comes out.
I said Kimi's seat which is at Lotus/Enstone. There were a lot of rumours about Kimi moving «up», not moving «out». Luca may be crazy enough to take Kimi back and pair him with Fernando. It's Didier Gilles all over again.

Aaaaaaah, I understand it now. Reading Kimi's name in the same sentence as Massa's got me all confused about what you meant. :)

#26 britishtrident

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 17:21

The way it looks to from where I sit is Kova is a better driver than the Mclaren years suggest but it is too late in his career get a decent F1 drive the best thing he could do is look to follow Rubens to the other side of the pond.

#27 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 17:28

The way it looks to from where I sit is Kova is a better driver than the Mclaren years suggest but it is too late in his career get a decent F1 drive the best thing he could do is look to follow Rubens to the other side of the pond.

It would be cool to see what Heikki could do in Indy Cars as long as he gets into a good team.

Also I hope his sister joins the paddock to take in a few races.

#28 BigCHrome

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 17:50

Heikki wasn't "overfueled" for the heck of it..... It was strategy.

He has been saying that quite frequently this year, in sharp contrast to the last two years at Lotus/Caterham whereby he would only affirm his loyalty to his current team.

He is simply trying to keep up the hype that he is somehow worthy of another go in a top F1 car, which he isn't when you have unproven talent waiting for such cars.


What unproven talent deserves a top seat? I think Toro Rosso has showed that different drivers is not always better.

#29 TFLB

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 18:05

He can't accept that he just didn't perform at Mclaren and is looking for excuses. The fact that he won't elaborate indicates to me that it's all just hot air.

#30 ali_M

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 18:24

The way it looks to from where I sit is Kova is a better driver than the Mclaren years suggest but it is too late in his career get a decent F1 drive the best thing he could do is look to follow Rubens to the other side of the pond.


Why a driver fails to perform is multifaceted. Being quick isn't enough since you need a quick car. The way to get your car as quick as it will go requires support from your team. You need to know what you need and you need to be confident about this. Confident enough to make special requests and demands on the team. Of course, you have to deliver as well which will create a self-feeding relationship that gives you the leverage to make even more requests to do better and in turn make the team more successful. Unfortunately, you're not the only one doing this. You have a teammate on the other side of the garage who likely has different needs from yours and the team is all too often unable to provide all that each driver desires. They'll naturally lean towards the stronger driver and a driver's strength doesn't come only from natural pace but he needs to create the support and circumstances to demonstrate/achieve his full potential.

I think Kovi does well in a mid-field team to back of the pack team because he's more likely to not have a strong teammate on the other side of the garage. He's not under pressure to perform as much since he's not in the spotlight as it were. Last but not least, who he fights among further down the grid during a race are less formidable. Things change drastically in terms of teammate and on-track adversaries when you're at the front.

Kovi may be feeling more confident now, but I have little doubt that he'll be painfully disillusioned once he gets another chance to fight at the front. He was perfectly leveraged to make a name for himself and he failed. Simple as that in my book. Not all the drivers on the grid are complete and have what it takes in the psychologic and political department to create F1 success for themselves.

I read in-depth about the legends and realize without a doubt that if I could drive like Senna for instance, that I could not have enjoyed his success. Why? He knew how to play the game and manipulate others into doing and providing what he needed to become successful. I'm not the political type and would not do well in such a situation. That's just me. I'm like Kovi... quiet and pretty much effective once given the chance in a not too competitive environment where there are scarce resources to do what it takes to achieve that success. Brundle had a lot to say in this regard as one of the reasons why his and Senna's careers travelled such different paths despite such hopeful futures demonstrated by their intense battle in F3 in 1983. Of course, he concedes Senna's superior driving ability but Senna's political acumen had a lot to do with the opportunities he provided himself. The same for Prost and the same for Schumacher. Now, we're seeing it with Alonso and his success with Ferrari.

Edited by ali_M, 10 August 2012 - 18:29.


#31 toroRosso

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 18:37

i think he's saying that he was a pussy back then and wont bend over as quickly if another shot was given to him

#32 ali_M

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 18:40

i think he's saying that he was a pussy back then and wont bend over as quickly if another shot was given to him


:rotfl:

In a nutshell, yes.

But you know... as they say... Once a ...., always a .....

:cool:

#33 Longtimefan

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 19:08

In my opinion Kovy is a midfield driver and no more, he was given a golden opportunity at McLaren, a chance most F1 drivers dream of, and he blew it BIG TIME.

I'm sure he does deserve a midfield-back end of the grid seat but no more. a top team would be crazy to take him on.


#34 bub

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 20:08

I think Heikki would be a success if given another opportunity in a top team. Some people actually improve over time and learn from their experiences and Heikki's looked pretty good lately to me.

#35 Baddoer

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 23:02

I think Kova could be ideal N2 driver. Luca are you reading?

#36 packapoo

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:25

I always felt Heikki's McLaren experience was largely tainted by him reading, then believing, too much about what the media thought; once the downward spiral started he couldn't stop it. Nothing's changed today, just that another is in the spotlight.


#37 jj2728

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:29

I wonder if anyone's given thought to Heikki getting the second Ferrari seat for 2013.

#38 jj2728

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:31

It's Didier Gilles all over again.


Not even close.

#39 rossbrawn

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 02:26

Luca are you reading?


I thought you were referring to Badoer for a moment :D .

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#40 BruisedLee

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 02:32

There is and article in motorsport-total.com (english translation via Planet F1), I'm puzzled about this:



What is he talking about?. :confused:

The only significant change since then has been Ron Dennis stepping down. Kova must be talking about the management of the team.

#41 Jimisgod

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 05:52

I think Kova could be ideal N2 driver. Luca are you reading?


:lol: You bet, emphasis on the #2.

#42 SmokeScreen

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:28

The only significant change since then has been Ron Dennis stepping down. Kova must be talking about the management of the team.



Could have sworn Kova raced under Whitmarsh in 2009 - which would suggest Whitmarsh was the one who let him go.

#43 BruisedLee

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:20

I don't know who decided to let him go, but I guess the final decision must have gone through the person holding the wallet. It doesn't matter anyway. Kova says there were reasons he did not fit, although it has changed a lot since then. As far as I know, Ron Dennis has been the biggest change in McLaren in the last few years, so I infer he is referring to the management.

#44 Clatter

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:28

I think Heikki would be a success if given another opportunity in a top team. Some people actually improve over time and learn from their experiences and Heikki's looked pretty good lately to me.


I don't, and I doubt any of the top teams are looking in his direction.


#45 jj2728

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 16:45

I don't, and I doubt any of the top teams are looking in his direction.


Yeah, but in the circus world of F1 you never know. He could fit in as a decent number 2 at Ferrari for a season.

#46 TFLB

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 17:27

Yeah, but in the circus world of F1 you never know. He could fit in as a decent number 2 at Ferrari for a season.

There are better drivers Ferrari could get. Why would they want Kovalainen, especially if he would just be a short-term option?

#47 Vesuvius

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 19:45

There are better drivers Ferrari could get. Why would they want Kovalainen, especially if he would just be a short-term option?


He is cheap, friendly, good team motivator, friends with Alonso and has worked him before, great over onelap and developed over race distance as well.

#48 TFLB

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 19:57

He is cheap, friendly, good team motivator, friends with Alonso and has worked him before, great over onelap and developed over race distance as well.

It's highly doubtful he's a good team motivator - Caterham have not moved far forwards during his time there, have they? He's good over one lap, yes, but his race pace is often awful.

#49 Vesuvius

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 20:22

It's highly doubtful he's a good team motivator - Caterham have not moved far forwards during his time there, have they? He's good over one lap, yes, but his race pace is often awful.


He was just praised that by the team how good motivator he is, when after every race he personally goes and thanks every team member that is on the paddockand always gives him best on track...so he is damn good team motivator! Caterham has progressed much closer to the middle pack and driver can't make car go several seconds faster than it can, it's team engineers job to do. His race pace has been good for three yers now, nothing to complain about that either.

Edited by Vesuvius, 11 August 2012 - 20:23.


#50 karlth

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 20:38

He was just praised that by the team how good motivator he is, when after every race he personally goes and thanks every team member that is on the paddockand always gives him best on track...so he is damn good team motivator! Caterham has progressed much closer to the middle pack and driver can't make car go several seconds faster than it can, it's team engineers job to do. His race pace has been good for three yers now, nothing to complain about that either.


His race pace has seemed very good for three years now because he is racing against a slower driver. His race pace wasn't so hot in 2008 and 2009.