Renault's test and third driver Heikki Kovalainen talks about 2006, which will be his first full F1 season Q: Heikki, you will fulfil the role of test driver for the Renault F1 Team in 2006. What are your objectives for this...
Renault's test and third driver Heikki Kovalainen talks about 2006, which will be his first full F1 season
Q: Heikki, you will fulfil the role of test driver for the Renault F1 Team in 2006. What are your objectives for this year?
Heikki Kovalianen: I think the goal is simple: I need to develop as a driver. The main objective is to develop my driving, but I need to learn how to give good technical feedback as well, to understand how the team works at the races, and most of all to get a lot of miles. This is a perfect opportunity to work alongside Fernando and Giancarlo, and to learn from them.
Q: How do you contemplate your new role in the Renault F1 Team?
HK: Being a test driver for the world champion team is certainly a big responsibility, and I am aware of that. The test driver's role is an important one, because the decisions you make have a direct impact on how competitive the team is at the races. So I have to make sure I am doing a good job in every sector.
Q: Do you think a test driving role is a good way for a young driver to begin an F1 career?
HK: When you are learning, it is really important to be in a good car, a good team and working with top level drivers. In a smaller team, you don't get so much testing and things are always limited in one area or another. For me, to have the opportunity to test with Renault, and work with the best in the business, is absolutely the right decision for my future.
Q: What are your impressions of the team so far?
HK: What is really impressive is the level of precision. There are always new parts to test, new developments on software, things are never standing still. Compared to junior series, that is very different. At Renault, the other thing that has really struck me is how the team works together. There are the chassis guys in England, the engine team in France, but they come together in a very smooth way. When you see that collaboration, it is hard not to admire it.
Q: Does the role of test driver bring pressure?
HK: I constantly want to improve, to do things better and to learn more. My philosophy is always to go flat out, at 100% to feel the changes to the car and give reliable feedback. But the team has the trust in me to develop and do a good job. It is a fantastic opportunity, and I am determined to deliver on it.