Kovalainen: At McLaren my confidence went

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen in a happy place now with Team Lotus/Caterham

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.

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki in action during the Japanese GP weekend

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.

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki celebrates his maiden F1 at the 2008 Hungarian GP

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.

  • Fensham

    Hamilton didn’t win the title in 2009! It was Jenson Button! Remember that annoying white car winning so often while we still saw Vettel as the hero???

  • http://www.yallaf1.com/ Editor

    Thanks Fensham – correction made

  • Twiinz

    I think Kovi is a great fit at Lotus/Caterham. He is a nice guy and the team does PR very well. They are the new Minardi/underdog for me. Kovi has done well there. He spanked Trulli this year too. I hope Heiki is able to give them their first points next year. With the unlap rule, he very well could. The only thing that needs to be fixed in the team is replacing Jarno.

  • Mild_seven

    Mates they are gonna have KERS ! And its a sign !

  • visz963

    Let replace Jarno with Alonso, so that he can show how good he is at driving over the car’s limits.

  • http://www.gmofilm.com fools

    What does Alonso have to do with this visz963? Your a dumbass.

  • Stewy33

    @ Twiinz

    Well said, I probably would have posted something similar if you haven’t already. As for Trulli, rumors are Daniel Riccardo is going to be taking his seat with Red Bull backing like they did with HRT.

  • visz963


    I am not sure you know where Kovalainen is from. No, he is not from Iceland. There is another country in Europe, far, far away from that. A country that language of wich you will never understand.

    fool US boy, knows nothing about the world.

  • Sennauno


    are you saying replace Jarno Trulli with Alonso? do you know that they were team mates at Renault? read about it. Did you know Alonso started his career at Minardi? read about it

    are you a geography teacher or something? why are you always talking about geography in a Formula 1 forum? so someone dosent know where Iceland is…..have you thought about maybe they dont care where Iceland is? and its great, its funny that someone dosent know where Iceland is ok…once

  • farizY

    Unfortunately for Heikki, at current rate, judging by the current performance of Team Caterham, he’s not gonna win any races (which he was able to, at McLaren)…..the fact of the matter is, to win in F1, you need to have the best package, then only the driving comes…..hopefully Caterham improves by a big margin in the future…

  • visz963


    If you dont know what I am talking about, then simply dont comment.

    There is nothing in your comment that concerns me. No new info. Maybe you dont understand what I wrote.

  • Sennauno


    perhaps you can enlighten me? – divulge