Kovalainen: At McLaren my confidence went
8 December, 2011
Dec.8 (PVM) Heikki Kovalainen admits that his last year with McLaren were a low point of his career, where he lost self confidence which he has not rebuilt with his tenure with Team Lotus.
Kovalainen joined McLaren in 2008 as team mate to Lewis Hamilton, replacing outgoing Fernando Alonso and in the wake of the ‘spygate’ scandal which cost the Woking squad $100 million. He won his first and (as yet) only grand prix in Hungary and finished seventh in the world championship that year, while team mate Hamilton went on to win the world championship.
In 2009 Kovalainen went DNF four times and never made it onto the podium and he was shown the door at the end of the year.
“After the second McLaren year, even if they had offered me an extension there was no point to continue there because it wasn’t working – for various reasons and there’s no need to go too deep into those, but the bottom line was I lost confidence, lost the freedom. Driving shouldn’t be that difficult,” he said in an interview with the Norwich Advertiser.
His move to Tony Fernandes’ brand new Lotus team, in 2010, provided the catalyst for the 30 year old to resurrect his career.
“Now I have found a good way, good and balanced form, and every time I get into the car I know I can get the best out of it and I can drive it to the limit. That’s what it needs to be and what the team expects of you. It’s like a golfer. Sometimes you lose your swing and I had lost mine – but I’ve found it again,” mused Kovalainen.
“To find that freedom again I had to go back to the starting point. That is why I joined Team Lotus and not the offers I had from some of the established teams,” he added.
Kovalainen is set to stay on another year with the same organisation, which will be re-branded to Caterham F1 Team next year.