Kovalainen: New teammate doesn't change my life in any way

(L to R): Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham, Juan Pablo Ramirez (MEX) race engineer and Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday 21 February 2012.
Vitaly Petrov with Heikki Kovalainen in Barcelona

Feb.23 (GMM) Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen insists he has “no concerns” despite having to start work with a new teammate – in newly signed former Lotus driver Vitaly Petrov – less than a month before the 2012 Formula 1 season is set to begin in Australia.

Heikki Kovalainen
Heikki Kovalainen in Barcelona

In 2010 and 2011, and since the formation of the former Lotus team, Kovalainen has shared the green garage with fellow grand prix winner Jarno Trulli.

Now, Caterham has replaced the Italian veteran with the much less experienced Vitaly Petrov, who has moved his Russian backing from Lotus (formerly Renault).

“I got along well with Jarno, but a new teammate doesn’t change my life in any way,” Kovalainen insisted to Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper.

“I have met with Vitaly here in Barcelona and I don’t have any concerns. He is definitely a strong competitor but I always give 110 per cent to beat my teammate.

“I don’t underestimate anyone,” he added.

Kovalainen admitted that Petrov might have to adjust to the fact that Caterham is smaller than Lotus, and the car not as competitive.

“Of course he has to get used to the team,” he said, “and if he has any questions, I’m available.

“But Vitaly is a professional driver and in F1 it is expected that the driver is able to start tackling the programme right away.”