Kovalainen: the MP4-24 already feels like home 13 Feb 2009
Following two productive days at Jerez, McLarens Heikki Kovalainen has revealed he feels comfortable in the MP4-24 and is confident he has already adapted well to driving whilst using the car's KERS device and adjustable front wing. Kovalainen covered over 150 laps of the Spanish circuit on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Its been a good start with the new car, said the Finn. Weve been mainly working on the reliability side of things and we seem quite satisfied that everything seems to be working well. The car feels like an evolution of last years - the controls, the seating position and driver comfort are very similar.
With the 2009 regulations allowing for the use of KERS and a driver-controlled moveable front wing, the drivers will have their work cut out over the course of a lap this season. However, Kovalainen is pleased with how quickly he has become accustomed to the additional technology.
I dont think its very difficult to adapt to these new things, he explained. Its just a few more things to do in the cockpit - press the button a few times every lap. I felt I very quickly became used to it and it quickly becomes a routine.
There are places where you want to press it and places where you want to back off some front wing: if you feel you need a change during a long run, you can adjust it yourself. I feel Im already on top of that and controlling it pretty well. And KERS has been running pretty well - its been running at full-power without any errors so thats quite encouraging.
Indeed, so far the only snag for Kovalainen has been rear tyre wear. But the Finn is certain hell be able to fine-tune his style of driving over the coming weeks to solve the issue before the season-opener at Melbourne's Albert Park.
Obviously, lower grip and with the tyres, you have to take care and really look after them - especially here at Jerez, which is always a killer on the rear tyres, he added. So we need to look after them and I think I need to work on my driving style a little bit, to be more cautious in various places.
But I have all the confidence in the team that they will be able to produce another competitive car. My feeling at the moment is that I have a better feeling this year than I did last year at the same time.
Kovalainen is scheduled to return to the McLaren cockpit at the start of March, when testing continues at Jerez.