Lotus pleased with Kovalainen’s “brilliant job”

2013 United States Grand Prix

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Circuit of the Americas, 2013Heikki Kovalainen passed his first test as a Lotus driver with flying colours, ending the first day fifth fastest overall.

Lotus technical director Nick Chester said the team were impressed by his first day as a substitute for Kimi Raikkonen.

“We feel he’s done a brilliant job today, particularly with all the procedures and getting used to driving a new car,” said Chester.

“We felt it might take a little bit of time but actually straight away in P1 he was already looking after the car very well. He got into P2, fifth quickest, good long runs, I think he’s done a great job today.”

Kovalainen described his first day in the car as “pretty smooth”.

“We?ve had no major issues on track today and we just need to keep chipping away to see how good we can get the car for tomorrow and Sunday.

“We lost a bit of track time in the morning, but the car balance was reasonably good straight away. I was able to settle in and work immediately on the set-up and tyre work.

“All the procedures and routines are quite similar up and down the pit lane, plus I?m familiar with all the systems from driving with a Renault engine already this year and previously, so it was a pretty straightforward day.”

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42 comments on Lotus pleased with Kovalainen’s “brilliant job”

  1. Wesley (@wesley) said on 15th November 2013, 23:14

    I would LOVE to see Heiki put this on podium…..kind of a slap in the face to Ferrari if these rumors of blocking Hulkenberg are true.Unfortunately I’m not very confident that will happen.

  2. foleyger (@foleyger) said on 15th November 2013, 23:16

    delighted for him. Hope he scores good points on Sunday.

  3. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 15th November 2013, 23:22

    Very glad for Kovalainen to have such a good first day driving for Lotus. Wouldn’t that be something if he does end up scoring decent points or better yet, a podium finish. Timing is everything in life, and F1. Maybe this is his time.

  4. Such a shame he got the boot from McLaren . He was the perfect number two driver, helping Lewis to take the WC title. They think having two fast drivers is a godo thing, but would Lewis still be at McLaren if button had not joined? I think so. Would McLaren be doing better with Lewis then they are now? I think so. If McLaren have another bad year in 2014 they are going to be called and seen as a mid table team.

    They are 5th place with 95 points.
    4th placed Lotus have 297 points
    no podiums, no poles.

    • Nick (@nick101) said on 16th November 2013, 0:04

      Would McLaren be doing better with Lewis then they are now? I think so.

      And that assumption is based on what exactly?

      • Chris (@ukphillie) said on 16th November 2013, 16:26

        Maybe the sheer amount of points Jenson took off Lewis. Not really hard to work out is it? Having someone like Button as opposed to a solid number 2 is always going to lose you points.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 16th November 2013, 3:15

      @jose he really didn’t contribute much to Lewis championship if we’re honest… and I don’t think they need a number 2 to be in better shape…

    • Shimks (@shimks) said on 16th November 2013, 12:48

      If McLaren have another bad year in 2014 they are going to be called and seen as a mid table team.

      I’m by no means a McLaren fan but I think you’re statement is far far away from becoming a reality. McLaren are no where near to becoming considered as a mid-table team, even if their results are hugely disappointing. Were Ferrari ever considered a mid-table team during their barren years? Absolutely not. Consider how many years of bad results it has taken Williams to be finally classed as a mid-table team. I think McLaren are a long long way off being considered anything but an underperforming top team.

  5. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 15th November 2013, 23:43

    It’s really good to see him get up to speed so quickly. If he can continue with this pace then good points are definitely on the cards.
    Also, that’s another nice helmet design from him.

  6. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 15th November 2013, 23:48

    He wanted smooth and so he got it. I really hope he can score some good points on sunday.

  7. Paul A (@paul-a) said on 15th November 2013, 23:51

    Isn’t the more important point that Caterham lost out worse than McLaren by sidelining/losing Kovalainen? Perhaps they would be ahead of Marussia in the WCC? I have to admit to being quite impressed by what he appears to be doing so far this weekend.

    • Gator said on 16th November 2013, 1:45

      My feeling that Caterham blew it has just been upheld. I’m really glad he has this chance to show his true ability!

    • James (@speedking84) said on 16th November 2013, 8:11

      I highly doubt Caterham would be ahead of Marussia if Heikki were drving for them, I think Pic and van der Garde are doing a good job considering they’ve finished ahead of Marussia every race since Canada if I’m correct. Marussia just so happened to have a better car in a race where there were a lot of retirements. We shouldn’t forget aswell that when Heikki drove the Caterham earlier in the year, he described the car as being on a knife edge, and that it was more difficult to drive than the 2012 car. In my view Caterham have a solid driver pairing, Pic is consistent, a decent qualifier and has good race pace and he’s only 23 so there is still more to come from him, and van der Garde has improved over the year. In my view Pic is the strongest driver in the backmarker battle, I agree Bianchi has better outright pace but Pic has a better blend of speed and consistency.

      • BradandCoffee said on 16th November 2013, 10:28

        It really comes down to the fact that Heikki could have beaten Bianchi in Malaysia. It was Pic and VDG’s 2nd race for Caterham and even thought Bianchi was on fire, you have to think Heikki would have had the advantage. That’s all it would have taken for Caterham to have secured 10th place. That one race was the race for the final cash-winning spot (assuming low attrition rates for USA and Brazil… though things did change in Brazil last year).

        • James (@speedking84) said on 16th November 2013, 14:24

          I agree to some extent, I think with Heikki already being integrated into the team he could have pushed Marussia more but even he would have struggled because realistically Marussia did have the better car in the first three races, the only reason Caterham are ahead now is because they have developed their car more, Marussia can be as slow as they like now, so long as their aren’t any crazy races to come in the last two races. I do agree with your point though, if Caterham were to have had Heikki and Charles that would have been the best lineup to get 10th in the constructors, but I do feel that it was the right decision for Caterham to hire van der Garde because Heikki shouldn’t be in a Caterham, Heikki realistically should be in a solid midfield team.

  8. If you wanna win, hire a finn

  9. schooner (@schooner) said on 16th November 2013, 0:48

    Good stuff from Heikki. It would be very cool to see him finish in the top 5 on Sunday. That said, I’m not sure yet if I’ll pick him as one of my top 5 in the predictions championship. Probably not.

  10. Dane (@n0b0dy100) said on 16th November 2013, 1:09

    Even his helmet design looks similar to Kimi’s.

  11. Sergey Martyn said on 16th November 2013, 5:42

    Congrats, Heiki!
    The question is did Lotus pay him a single euro cent?

  12. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 16th November 2013, 7:58

    It was always a wise decision for Lotus to opt for Heikki: one of the few drivers (if any) to have actually driven a 2013 chassis, and his form in FP has shown just that, despite being a good part of a 0.5-1 second off Grosjean on his long runs, but on a reasonable note, Grosjean is in the form of his life now.

  13. TMF (@tmf42) said on 16th November 2013, 8:37

    great showing by Heikki and Valsecchi should stop by his garage and see if he can learn something instead of being angry.

  14. jihelle (@jihelle) said on 16th November 2013, 8:44

    Heikki could very well be in the process of securing a 2014 drive with Lotus. He’s fast, experienced and …cheap.

  15. Jarrod (@f1ism) said on 16th November 2013, 9:03

    lets hope kova gets a good Finnish

  16. Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 16th November 2013, 11:01

    I know it’s just a little, but so far the replacement is very succesfull ! In the last races, GRO > RAI, now KOV > GRO, so the result is KOV > RAI ! If KOV will finish the race in a better position than GRO, some might wonder why Lotus did not hire KOV more time ago. Kinda justified to wonder. Also, makes one wonder if Ferrari did a good move by hiring back RAI… instead of somebody else, younger… like Hulk, for ex.

    • Andrei said on 16th November 2013, 12:20

      I don’t know if you’re being serious or just kidding, but following that logic, Gutiérrez > Alonso.

      • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 16th November 2013, 13:16

        OK, I was kidding a little, but mostly… serious, although not much about that “logic”. What I wanted to underline with that “logic” is that things are very relative in F1, that Kimi is not young anymore (and maybe shouldn’t be regarded anymore as a benchmark that easy)… and we can see some succesful replacements, although most people did not expect that. At least so far, Lotus has no reason to cry over RAI. That’s a fact.
        But you must be kidding indeed with that comparison between GUT and ALO. I’m comparing just team mates, while you’re comparing different cars too. Hulk is great, but my impression is that Sauber is quite on par with Ferrari for some races already, and mostly it wasn’t Hulk “genius” that raised Sauber’s game so much. So, I really think that now Sauber is on par with Ferrari, if not even better. Both Saubers finished 2nd FP in front of the Ferraris. Go figure.
        Goind back to KOV, at least so far, he got the best lap time with a Lotus.

        • Andrei said on 16th November 2013, 13:52

          We can’t call a replacement succesfull because a driver made a better lap time than another during practices: while one driver is tweeking the car with the tank almost empty with the option tyres, the another one maybe is making race simulation with the tank full and the hardest tyres and viceversa. You can’t compare drivers during practices, because it doesn’t decide anything. Also, they’re running without pressure. The comparison should be done during Sunday.

    • James (@speedking84) said on 16th November 2013, 14:31

      How is Kovalainen better than Grosjean, did you see their long run pace? Grosjean was a second to half a second quicker on the first ten laps of their long run, I suppose you could say KOV>GRO for qualifying pace and GRO>KOV for long run pace.

  17. Mr_Peabody said on 16th November 2013, 11:30

    Great to see Heikki back in a car, and a good one at that.

  18. Andrei said on 16th November 2013, 12:14

    I don’t know, practices doesn’t say anything about a driver or car performances. He made the most laps on the second practice, showing that he wants to extract the most of the car, and I hope he get’s a lot of points on Sunday for the goodness of Lotus. Having said that, I still think Lotus made the wrong decision hiring him for the job.

  19. Joshua said on 16th November 2013, 12:46

    Heikki should get the 2014 driver’s seat in my opinion. He’s a great driver!

  20. I really think we’re reading a bit too much into this. He was consistently half a second a lap slower on his long run than Grosjean, and the chances are his qualifying lap was pretty much on the lowest fuel (to give him practice).

    Stil, a good day at the office nonetheless, but my money is still heavily on Grosjean prevailing fairly comfortably.

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