Heikki Kovalainen has vowed to rebuild his reputation during his new partnership with Lotus

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    Heikki Kovalainen has vowed to rebuild his reputation during his new partnership with Lotus

    Post by Ross on 7th February 2010, 17:25

    Kovalainen: I will turn reputation around

    Heikki Kovalainen has vowed to rebuild his reputation this year after the disappointing end to his McLaren stint.

    The Finn was criticised for a lack of race pace compared to Lewis Hamilton last season, and struggled to get the best out of his car on a consistent basis.

    Having moved to the new Lotus team for 2010, Kovalainen says he determined to prove his racing credentials again.

    "I’m sure many people had this sort of picture about myself that I’m a good qualifier but not a good racer," he told itv.com/f1.

    "But my opinion is that this has only been true during my McLaren years [2008-09].

    "In the other years, in the junior categories and at Renault, I’d say that my race performances were stronger than my qualifying.

    "I think that at McLaren I was able to improve the qualifying performances from previous years but race performances were not what they should have been and I think I know the reasons why.

    "Whether [Lotus will have] a competitive car to be up the front I don’t necessarily expect that, but the relative performance in races compared to qualifying is a bit of a point for me to prove.

    "That’s one of the key targets for this year."

    Kovalainen said he had shrugged off the negative comments his late-2009 results received, although he conceded his stock in the paddock had fallen.

    "I’ve always had 100% confidence in my own ability and I have a lot of people around me that have kept supporting me," he insisted.

    "I don’t really have any problems with the criticism from people, public or management or whoever commenting [from] outside.

    "I’m quite well aware myself where I am, where I’m at and what needs to be done and for me it’s quite easy to go work with that philosophy – and it doesn’t really bother me what people say outside.

    "Of course to stay in Formula 1 and be among the top drivers there you have to do good performances and at McLaren I wasn’t able to do that so in that sense, yeah, I have to sort of prove myself again to get my name back up there where it should be.

    "I’m confident I can do that."

    Kovalainen refused to be drawn on the reasons for his underperformance at McLaren.

    "I think I know the reasons why it didn’t work out and I will do things differently here at Lotus," he said.

    "But I don’t want to get into that too much – it’s gone now, it’s gone, the past time for me. A shame I didn’t win more races but that’s the way it is sometimes."

    Source: itv.com/f1

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