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Kovalainen - hero or zero


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Poll: Kovalainen - hero or zero (180 member(s) have cast votes)

  1. Absolutely, he is a top-5 F1 driver for sure (86 votes [47.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 47.78%

  2. Yes, he will make a good 2nd driver for McLaren (68 votes [37.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.78%

  3. Dunno, he is average but the best available (22 votes [12.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.22%

  4. No, he is a poor driver wasting a winning car (4 votes [2.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.22%

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#1 Mauseri

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:05

I see this is the driver in the top teams people generally regard as the least deserving of a top ride. Does he deserve to be in a McLaren, was his 2007 year good enough to earn him the seat? Or is he just a plain lucky journeyman because there was a free seat at McLaren and other drivers weren't free anymore?

Here's a poll about Heikkis chances. Discuss.

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#2 BMW_F1

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:27

Kova is a good driver he was able to match fisi in the second half of the season however he didnt impress me at all as a great talent. I would take roseberg, vettel and kubica over him any day. Actually Mclaren tried to get them first but they failed.

#3 512 TR

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:28

If Ron packs his bags, Heikki will get the chance to shine. I'm not putting him in Kimi's league but if he's given the opportunity he may beat Lewis. But as I said, only if Ron is gone.

#4 ashnathan

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:28

well, it was made clear he was the person they least wanted to put in the car, but the fact they wanted to put him in the car at all is of his own doing, so in a way hes lucky but in reality he deserves it. Im a bit iffy on him, i watched the 2007 aus gp yesterday and watched him at his worst, i think he will be a better qualifyer.

#5 undersquare

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:30

Hard to tell his speed yet, but he was looking at least above average by the end of the year I thought. Merc really wanted a German driver it seems, also Rosberg has a year's more experience, but otherwise I think Heikki was the best driver available.

He seems such a nice guy everyone wants him to do well, and I think he will. I don't feel he has the ultimate competitive edge to be a joint no1 with Hammy in the team, but I think he's grounded enough to fit in and let his driving do the talking.

#6 koolzoli

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:32

in my opinnion it's too early too judge. it's difficult to judge those last year rookies like lewis, heikki or robert because they were not driving the same car and they won't.
i don't think he is loser, not at all. i would like he is chalenging lewis and even beating him in this season. :up:

#7 Cotchin

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:42

Heiki's the only guy to ever beat Fisi on BS

#8 Atreiu

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:07

I have no idea, but it is clear he improved during the season last year.

#9 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:10

I think Kovleinnen will beat Hamilton at least on a couple of occasions, more likely near the end of the season but Hamilton will beat him fairly convincingly on points.

#10 scheivlak

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:11

Top 5 driver for sure.
Not faster, but in the end mentally stronger than Lewis - because he knows his limits better.

#11 archstanton

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:25

curious about this myself, be really interesting to see what happens in Australia ... i reckon that confident move of Hamiltons at the very first corner of the first lap was the trigger that set in motion everything that eventually transpired.

obviously everyone is gonna be making all the right noises, but having managed to shuffle Alonso back down the grid, until 2009 at least, i just can't see Lewis being in any hurry to let Heiki get himself established and comfortable as a competitive rival. it's only natural.
it won't descend into the chaos of last year, i hope, but if Kovalainen doesn't establish himself straight out the box, he'll need to be careful getting swamped into a supporting act. stick it on the front row, and then we got ourselves a ball game.

... the Renault experience and the criticism from early last year was character building though, so maybe that'll help him be a mentally stronger proposition, and better able to work this problem.

#12 Phucaigh

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:29

Originally posted by Atreiu
I have no idea, but it is clear he improved during the season last year.


Agrees and this year will tell a lot.

#13 noikeee

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:31

Most likely a very good 2nd driver. But no more than that.

It's too early to be sure though, I could be wrong.

#14 Atreiu

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 00:57

Originally posted by scheivlak
Top 5 driver for sure.
Not faster, but in the end mentally stronger than Lewis - because he knows his limits better.


How do you know he is mentally stronger? I mean, he survived Alonso as a teammate in his rookie season. And Alonso was certainly not an easy going friendly chap who wanted to help Lewis as much as possible. Compare that to beating an unmotivated Fisichella...

And how can we know if Lewis is unaware of his limits? Does that refer to his last two races? There was no solid as rock and flawless pilot in 2007.

#15 Tigershark

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 01:18

Originally posted by kids like ash
well, it was made clear he was the person they least wanted to put in the car, but the fact they wanted to put him in the car at all is of his own doing, so in a way hes lucky but in reality he deserves it.

Out of the three or four McLaren seriously considered, so I suppose it's still quite high on the list of drivers who were available. :)

Still, Heikki had some good weekends last year, some not so much (mostly early in the season when he (and Renault!) were still adapting). I wouldn't be surprised if he can get a few good races in and be competitive at the front of the grid. The Renault team seemed quite impressed by him towards the end of the year, noting publicly how much he had improved.

#16 Jason

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 01:48

Honestly, after what happened last season I don't think McLaren were looking for a top 5 driver to replace Alonso. HK seems like a pretty decent driver and may develop into a top driver soon. It took him a while to adjust at Renault last year, and now he needs to start over again. Given that LH is already quite familiar with McLaren, HK will be at a great disadvantage from the get-go. If he does manage to beat LH in some races, I would expect it to be later in the season.

#17 Apocalypse

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 03:55

Last years Renault was a piece of ****, so it's quite difficult to say anything about his actual driving skills.

When the season advanced he beat Fisi quite easily though... if that's any kind of measure of anything.

I think he's a solid driver, and if he plays his card well he'll inherit Coulthards role at McLaren. That means "good 2nd driver". I doubt he's in Kimi's or Alonso's level... there's a big difference being a solid driver and being a WDC contender.

He seems to be genuinely a nice guy. Nice guys rarely win the championships. That's an old cliché but it's so true... I could be wrong of course, we'll be much wiser after 5-6 races. If he beats Hamilton it will be quite a sensation... and very embarrassing one at that... at least to the British motorsport journalists.



#18 HSJ

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 07:00

Originally posted by BMW_F1
Kova is a good driver he was able to match fisi in the second half of the season however he didnt impress me at all as a great talent. I would take roseberg, vettel and kubica over him any day. Actually Mclaren tried to get them first but they failed.


Hmm, I thought Kova dominated Fisi in the 2nd half just like FA used to, actually. But Rosberg is most likely better. Kova is as deserving as any of the Mac seat though, even if the whole field was available. He has the talent, the question is how he will develop it over the next few years. Talent-wise I think he is roughly a Häkkinen, and he was good enough for Macca. But I repeat: we'll see if he makes use of his talent. We'll also see if he is a good fit at McLaren. As we've seen, not everyone are (Montoya, Alonso).

#19 Mauseri

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 07:19

I think it will be interesting to see how he develops. If he can be very close to Hamilton or even beat him more than twice, it will confirm that the speed differences amongst the top-10 drivers is minimal and it's mostly other qualities which make the drivers stand out.

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#20 Mika Mika

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:02

One thing last year showed was Heikki is consistant. His performance in Japan was fantastic!!!

#21 HSJ

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:11

Originally posted by Mika Mika
One thing last year showed was Heikki is consistant. His performance in Japan was fantastic!!!


Drive of the year. In the 4th best car that was set up for dry conditions... (Renault gambled in qualifying, didn't work. Maybe with a better setup Heikki would have won. He's the moral victor anyway, no Macca around after all.)

#22 Mika Mika

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:21

Originally posted by HSJ


Drive of the year. In the 4th best car that was set up for dry conditions... (Renault gambled in qualifying, didn't work. Maybe with a better setup Heikki would have won. He's the moral victor anyway, no Macca around after all.)


I agree, Kimi did a REALLY good job too, but that day I think Heikki did a better one, Kimi was in the fastest car after all and Heikki was in a Rubbish one, but still held Kimi off!!

#23 Christian Szymczak

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:19

I think he's a good driver, but will consistently be a tenth or two off Hamilton's pace. While he is talented, there hasn't been any evidence that he is a super-talent like Kimi, Alonso, Ham, Schu, etc.

Personality wise he seems like a very nice guy and I like him the most of all F1 drivers, so I hope he wins.;)

#24 Jackman

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:44

For years I've had a sneaking suspicion that Kovalainen was slightly faster than Hamilton, but they've never really raced each other so it's been hard to know one way or another: this year will be great because it will give us an answer to that question.

#25 Durant

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:47

Originally posted by HSJ


Drive of the year. In the 4th best car that was set up for dry conditions... (Renault gambled in qualifying, didn't work. Maybe with a better setup Heikki would have won. He's the moral victor anyway, no Macca around after all.)


Lets not forget the freak accident ahead of him which retired two cars at the end. In reality he drove to 4th. He has talent but hes not freakish. Probably Kimi level.

#26 Hacklerf

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:53

HK will beat Hamilton, you will see

#27 Oho

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:01

Originally posted by Durant


Lets not forget the freak accident ahead of him which retired two cars at the end. In reality he drove to 4th. He has talent but hes not freakish. Probably Kimi level.



That is kind of reassuring as it implies Heikki should have no trouble seeing off the likes of Alonso....

#28 p432rpp

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:02

Originally posted by Mika Mika
One thing last year showed was Heikki is consistant. His performance in Japan was fantastic!!!


Shame he didn't finish the final race otherwise he would have finished every GP in his rookie year. "Not bad for a rookie"

;)

I think HK will be quick, but Hamilton will out-race him. Perhaps a similar performance difference as seen with Massa/Kimi in 2007...?

#29 Nobody

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:58

Although it means very little, he did beat what's his name... Schu-something, in the RoC final a few years back at the tender age of 19.

:cool:

#30 Man of the race

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:54

Originally posted by Durant


Lets not forget the freak accident ahead of him which retired two cars at the end. In reality he drove to 4th. He has talent but hes not freakish. Probably Kimi level.


Wasn't it the same race where Fernando put his equipment to the wall. :lol:
So, I would say that luckily Heiki did not drove like a champion on that day...
They are all heros for me.

#31 rodlamas

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 13:01

Originally posted by Hacklerf
HK will beat Hamilton, you will see


And KR too.

#32 Orin

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 13:04

Where's the too early to tell option? He looked very promising after a difficult start in the Renault, my guess is he could well be in the top five, but it's a bit early to judge.

#33 F1 Tor.

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 14:05

Originally posted by Orin
Where's the too early to tell option? He looked very promising after a difficult start in the Renault, my guess is he could well be in the top five, but it's a bit early to judge.


I agree. It'll be interesting to see how team dynamics work if he were to beat Lewis on a consistent basis. He really has a great opportunity to shine this year and beat someone who took it to a 2 time champ last year. I hope he does well and is given every chance to prove himself. :wave:

#34 karlth

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 14:21

Based on his career so far it is difficult to see why he should outperform Hamilton and his recent comments after testing don't sound promising either.

#35 Panch

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 16:07

Heikki is very consistent, he makes hardly any mistakes. I expect Lewis to be quicker in the first couple races but when circus is back in europe , their speed is equal.

Very intresting dual, i would say.

#36 Keir

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 16:45

Heikki will fit in just fine !!

#37 santori

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 18:02

The first option comes closest to what I think (I'd skip the 'top five' bit, just because I think there are nine or ten drivers of fairly similar ability). He's certainly worthy of the drive and will at the very least be a good number 2.

#38 mclarensmps

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 18:09

Topic title is completely non-indicative of topic subject.

Just throwin' that out there...

#39 F1Champion

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 19:06

Just remember these young guns are quicker than they first look. When everyone heard about Hamilton pairing with Alonso everyone were saying the same thing, he's going to be comprehensively outpaced....occasionally might beat Alonso but is a second driver. Or it was he'll be outpaced and will show his speed in the second half of the season.

Now that everyone is repeating the same for Heikki, I would suggest that they not be so confident. Heikki in my opinion will surprise Hamilton on more than one occasion and I think the pairing could be like Kimi/Massa in 07.

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#40 Mauseri

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 20:40

Originally posted by Durant
Lets not forget the freak accident ahead of him which retired two cars at the end. In reality he drove to 4th. He has talent but hes not freakish. Probably Kimi level.

You mean Vettel? Excuse me but how did he do a better job than Heikki? Pity for Webber but kudos for Heikki for staying out of trouble, as usually :up:

#41 noikeee

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 22:26

Originally posted by The Big Guns
Topic title is completely non-indicative of topic subject.

Just throwin' that out there...


There's no limits to how anal people can be in an internet forum.

#42 COUGAR508

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 22:40

Heikki was probably the best option open to McLaren in the circumstances. A good, solid, non-contentious choice, who is still improving, and will not make any waves, politically or otherwise. He could surprise a few people, just as Lewis did last year.

#43 Cenotaph

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 22:51

I think Kova will surprise some guys this year, pretty much matching Lewis. I wouldn't consider him as a top 5 driver in F1 yet though, so I choose not to vote. :)

#44 ashnathan

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 22:54

if he isnt a top 5 driver i find your opinion quite contradicting, on one hand your saying he will match lewis, and on the other he isnt a top 5 driver, if he isnt a top 5 driver he will not match lewis.

#45 Cenotaph

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 23:27

Originally posted by kids like ash
if he isnt a top 5 driver i find your opinion quite contradicting, on one hand your saying he will match lewis, and on the other he isnt a top 5 driver, if he isnt a top 5 driver he will not match lewis.


Well, let's see if I can explain it better.

It would be possible that I wouldn't consider Lewis to be a top 5, but I actually do judging only his rookie season. However, some drivers turn out to be dissapointments and others good surprises. Lewis had a terrific start in F1, but in the end, he wasn't able to cope with the pressure. This year he won't drive as relaxed as he did last year. This time everyone is expecting him to be dominant and the only competition to Ferrari. It's difficult to predict how will he react to this, it's hard to know by now if he is more mature and able to manage this situation. It's possible that he will underperform this year.

About Kova, well, he struggled a lot in the start of 2007, but he recovered throughout the season and did impress me ocasionally. Still, a top 5 list is purely for elite drivers, too restrictive. If someone asked me to name the best 5 drivers in F1, his name wouldn't come to my mind before Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Heidfeld, and even more guys like Vettel, Kubica, Sutil could compete for his place. But still, I think Kova is a very good driver, and will be eager to make the most of this chance of being in one of the best cars, possibly becoming a top 5 driver in the process, but, right now, I wouldn't rate him that high.

So, to sum it up, and this is obviously a lot of speculation from me, but it's possible that Lewis will not be at the level he was last year, and that Heikki, now without the pressure that comes with replacing a WDC, and being thought by everyone as a 2nd driver for Hamilton, can reveal himself as a top driver. Pretty much like Massa did last year, for instance.

#46 scheivlak

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 23:42

Originally posted by Atreiu

And how can we know if Lewis is unaware of his limits? Does that refer to his last two races? There was no solid as rock and flawless pilot in 2007.

Indeed, but Heikki showed a refreshing amount of self-criticism - rather more than Lews allowed himself to show.

#47 pkrash

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 18:39

Seems a lot of people forgot that he almost lost his job at Renault....
Does his head block the Mercs air intake?

#48 Jackman

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 18:43

Kovalainen is personally managed by Briatore's FBB: do you really think Flavio would have dropped him if he didn't already have a deal done with McLaren?

#49 MONTOYASPEED

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 19:35

Originally posted by Cotchin
Heiki's the only guy to ever beat Fisi on BS


And this is supposed to prove?

#50 Panch

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 20:14

We have to remember that Renault was supposed to announce their next season drivers in Italy. When Flavio did notice Alonso´s crossness, he didn´ hurry making the new conracts.

So basically HK was driving for his next years job in every single GP under a lot of pressure, still keeping the car on track and driving well.