Q&A with McLarens Heikki Kovalainen 19 Mar 2008
Fifth place in Melbourne was a pretty good result for Heikki Kovalainens McLaren debut. However, with a little more luck he could easily have been second. The safety car timing didnt go his way, and then there was that unfortunate error - accidentally hitting the pitlane speed limiter - that cost him a place to Fernando Alonso. Now Kovalainen is looking forward to Sepang, a track which holds fond memories, even if it is slightly warmer than his native Finland
Q: Following the performance of the team in Australia, what are your expectations going into Malaysia?
Heikki Kovalainen: My target is to build on the fifth position from Melbourne. We were really competitive all weekend, and I was making sure I kept relaxed and didnt put any additional pressure on myself. I now have my first race with the team under my belt, apart from the safety car it went really well and we are now going to push harder in Sepang. The car was really quick and we now have to work hard to take that performance to Malaysia.
Q: You scored your first Grand Prix point at Sepang last year; does the track layout suit your driving style?
HK: I hope so! I think your driving style has to suit all the tracks if you want to be winning races and fighting for the championship. I consider Malaysia last year my first proper race in Formula One, so I have some good memories from there. It is a very interesting track, very wide with some great corners. It is a cool place to go and I am looking forward to the race.
Q: What are the key areas you have focused on in training prior to this race and how will you manage the conditions over the weekend
HK: The main process is getting your body used to the heat, and we were able to start that in Melbourne as the conditions were pretty warm, so it was another step up in the heat. When we are training we try to stay out in the heat and keep hydrated. We also focus on my diet, what I am eating and when. I am working very closely with my trainer and the team doctor to ensure I am fully prepared.
Q: How are you spending your time between Australia and Malaysia?
HK: I flew out to Kuala Lumpur on Monday, I visited the city last year, so I went straight to the hotel to focus on my training. It will be much the same as just outlined, staying out in the heat, which for me coming from Finland is very unusual. We have 40 degrees but it is always minus not plus!