Q&A with Renaults Heikki Kovalainen 13 Sep 2007
After a slow start to his debut season, Heikki Kovalainen is out to prove Renault were right to promote him to a race seat. He's scored valuable points in each of the last five races and now Kovalainen is looking forward to the ultimate test - Spa-Francorchamps
Q: Heikki, you finished the Italian Grand Prix in the same place as you started it, in seventh position
Heikki Kovalainen: We were a bit disappointed not to finish higher, and not to have taken advantage of Massa's retirement to score more points. But we made no mistakes during the race, so I have to admit we finished where we probably deserved to. Even so, it was good to finish the race and maintain my 100 per cent record, and to score points for the fifth race in a row. Now, we need to focus on the weekend ahead.
Q: This will be your first Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. Are you excited?
HK: Yes, very excited! Spa is a fantastic circuit, and I have very good memories from my races in GP2. The track layout is very nice, with lots of elevation changes and some really good sequences of corners which put the drivers and the engineers to the test. It is certainly one of the best races of the year, and a fantastic challenge for the drivers - especially through the famous section of Eau Rouge.
Q: You tested at this circuit in July. Was it important to do so?
HK: It is always an advantage when you can test at a circuit before racing there, and especially because the team didn't race here last year - and we had never run the V8 engine at this circuit. It allowed us to establish the baseline set-up in terms of downforce levels, suspension settings, brake bias and so on I think we found some good answers, and we will have a good starting point to work from throughout the weekend in order to have a competitive car in qualifying and the race.
Q: Why do you think drivers enjoy the challenges of Spa so much?
HK: This is what I would call an old-style circuit. Not in terms of the facilities, which have been improved a lot this year, but in terms of the track design. There are many demanding, high-speed corners and this is a real driver's circuit, where we can make a big difference at the wheel. Even if the car does not have the perfect set-up, or if it is not the fastest on the grid, a very brave driver can go into the corners faster, accelerate earlier or not lift where others do. This is a circuit where you can really see who the good drivers are.