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Symonds: Kovalainen will learn from errors 22 Mar 2007

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27 goes off.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 18 March 2007 Pat Symonds (GBR) Renault Executive Director of Engineering.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2007 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2007 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2007 The helmet of Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2007

Renault’s Pat Symonds is confident there will be no repeat of Heikki Kovalainen’s disappointing Australian performance at round two in Malaysia next month. Kovalainen finished tenth in Melbourne - five places behind team mate Giancarlo Fischella - after a difficult debut.

The Finn was hit by technical problems on his R27 in practice, something Symonds believes almost certainly played a part in his qualifying position. This in turn left Kovalainen with rather a lot to do in the race - prompting a spin and several off-track excursions.

“It is fair to say that he was on the back foot from the very beginning,” Symonds, Renault’s Executive Director of Engineering, told the team’s official website. “The car problems in P2 and P3 cost him track time, and this very likely contributed to his poor qualifying position.

“When you start back in the pack, you end up in traffic for a large part of the race - and I think some of the mistakes we saw were probably born of the frustration of being in that position.”

After the race, both Kovalainen and the team acknowledged that his showing had not been up to expectations. However, Symonds insists Renault still have every faith in their former test driver.

“At the time we signed Heikki, we full accepted that as a rookie, he would make mistakes in his first year. We have seen some of them in Melbourne, but one of the many reasons we believe in him, is that we know he is realistic, honest and intelligent. Without a doubt, he will learn from Sunday - and I don’t think it will be repeated.”

Kovalainen has another major challenge to face at the Malaysian Grand Prix, where he must tackle a circuit he has never driven before. With that in mind, the Finn is expected to carry out all Renault’s running at next week’s Sepang test in order to fully acquaint himself with the track.