Category Archives: Heikki Kovalainen

What I want from the 2011 Formula 1 Season

Been a while, but I’m back – how have you all been?

  1. First off I’d like to wish Robert Kubica a quick recovery – that’s my number one wish for 2011, that we see Robert back in a his Renault and thrilling us all with his spectacular driving talent once again.
  2. I want Lewis Hamilton to win the Driver’s Championship – did you really expect anything else? If his car is competitive from the start I believe the only thing stopping Hamilton form achieving title number 2 is himself. But then those mistakes that come from being over-zealous is also the mentality that makes him such an exciting driver to watch, and I love his all or nothing attitude. However, he just needs to reign it in once in a while to avoid giving away points needlessly.
  3. If Hamilton can’t win the Driver’s Championship he at least needs to beat Jenson Button, and convincingly from start to finish. I don’t want any of this Button getting race victories before Hamilton like last year – I want total team mate domination from the 2008 Champion, from the very first race and continuing throughout the season.
  4. McLaren to win the Constructor’s Championship. I may be more loyal to Hamilton than the team but I still like McLaren more than any other team and I don’t want them coming in behind the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari. Not sure this point and the previous sit well together, but I can dream!
  5. I don’t want a dominant car like the Red Bulls last year. Qualifying was on the whole very predicable and boring and this year I want more people on pole, and more people vying for a pole position during qualifying.
  6. With Hamilton ultimately winning, I want a close race for the Championship like last year. 2009 was a fairytale story for Brawn but it was boring, going down to the last race with 4 people statistically in with a chance made for a great season in 2010 – more of the same please.
  7. Weber to beat Vettel. I actually like Vettel a lot more than I did as I think he’s matured a lot, but I still want to see Weber beat his younger team mate. In fact if Hamilton doesn’t win the Championship, in the absence of Kubica, I want Weber to become 2011 Champion.
  8. Lotus (not the Renault team) to score points, and specifically Kovalainen. Drove brilliantly for a team that couldn’t really compete, but so very nearly did, at the back end of the established teams anyway. Any man that becomes his own fireman deserves at least 1 Championship point

That’s me done for now, there maybe nmore to come later. So, agree, disagree or have your own wishes for the season? To borrow a catchphrase from Sidepodcast; see you in the comments.

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Filed under Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Uncategorized

I think I’m a Hamilton fan, not a McLaren fan!

That’s probably not the post subject you’d expect to see on a blog called McLaren Fan Blog, but I think watching the race in Monza earlier has made me come to that realisation. The epiphany came when Lewis went out on the first lap and my heart sunk seeing Jenson Button in 1st, knowing full well that if it stayed like that then he’d only be a handful of points behind Lewis. There was then a chance that Jenson could end the season with more points than Lewis and possibly as champion, though not that likely. I didn’t like that – I wanted Lewis to be the highest placed McLaren driver, and when Alonso took the lead I was actually relieved that Jenson wouldn’t be as close to Lewis in the Driver’s Championship than I’d previously thought.

As I McLaren fan I should want either driver to win, I don’t.

To the people reading this post, I can imagine this will be a very unpopular opinion but all I can be is honest. It was Lewis Hamilton that first got me really interested in Formula 1 back at Fuji 2007, and it has now become clear that it’s him that I’m still firmly behind, and not the team he’s driving for. I want Lewis to be the number one driver in the team and I want Lewis to be a 2 time champion and not Jenson Button.

I guess this never became an issue before because in 2007 Hamilton was beating team mate Alonso and in 2008 and 2009 he was a long way ahead of Kovalainen. Earlier this season I had similar feelings but it was so early on that it didn’t seem like it could be a reality, not through the eyes of a staunch Lewis supporter. Now however, with just 5 races left, Jenson is a lot closer to Lewis and all it takes is a bit of bad luck and Lewis could be only the 2nd best McLaren driver – that’s something I’m not happy to accept..

I guess the ultimate question is if Lewis Hamilton drove for another team next year would I still support McLaren, and the answer is no. In fact if Lewis left Formula 1 I think my support would probably shift to Robert Kubica – he’s a great talent and my grandparents on my Mother’s side were Polish. Maybe it’s time I started thinking about renaming this Blog Hamilton fan Blog instead?

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Filed under Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Italian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Robert Kubica

McLaren: Year on Year Comparison – Race 3, Malaysia 2010

2009 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 5 4 9 TOTAL 12 13 25
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 6 2 8
Malaysian 2 0 2 Australian 3 10 13
Chinese 3 4 7 Malaysian 3 1 4

 
 

2010 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 13 10 23 TOTAL 23 31 66
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 15 6 21
Malaysian 5 0 5 Australian 8 25 33
Chinese 8 10 18 Malaysian 8 4 12

 
Despite the fantastic performance from Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button on Sunday, McLaren have actually lost ground on the 2009 season thanks to Heikki Kovalianen’s 5th place in the Chinese Grand Prix last year. Interestingly Lewis Hamilton was 6th place in the 3rd race of last season, just as he was this year, and in the Australian Grand Prix 2 weeks ago – that’s a trend we want to see broken, and replaced with smaller numbers!

It’s clear to see what effect the new points system is having as using the 2009 points system Jenson would only be 1 point ahead of Lewis, rather than the 8 points ahead he currently is under the 2010 points system.

Jenson Button in Malaysia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Even though the 2009 season mad eup a bit of ground this weekend, the current season is still clearly beating last season, and if this story from PlanetF1.com is to be believed then their new ride-height system could make them very competitive in China, up there with the Red Bulls competitive which will see them grabbing a bucket load of points.

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Filed under Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Year on Year Comparisons

McLaren: Year on Year Comparison – Race 2, Australia 2010

After the poor start to the 2009 season and Jenson’s victory in Australia this past Sunday, I have a feeling the gulf between the 2009 and 2010 points total is about to expand, a lot!

2009 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 2 0 2 TOTAL 9 12 21
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 6 2 8
Malaysian 2 0 2 Australian 3 10 13

 
 

2010 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 5 0 5 TOTAL 23 31 54
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 15 6 21
Malaysian 5 0 5 Australian 8 25 33

 
Interesting to see how the new points system has meant that McLaren have accrued two and half times as many points for 2010 than if we’d still been on the 2009 points system. The way the points have spread out also sees Jenson Button catapulted into an 8 point lead over team mate Lewis Hamilton who was 7 points ahead of Jenson after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Compared to 2009, 2010 has been a roaring success and whether you are comparing the seasons under the 2009 or 2010 points system, the evidence if clear for all to see. Unless something catastrophic happens I don’t think we’ll see the 2010 points total dropping off to anywhere near the 2009 levels. Even with Lewis Hamilton’s resurgence in the second half of 2009, I’d predict that the second half of the 2010 will out-perform last year thanks to having two drivers who are equally capable of big points hauls – something that Heikki Kovalainen couldn’t achieve last season.

Lewis and Jenson at the launch of the McLaren MP4-25

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

This time last season McLaren were 7th in the Constructors’ Championship with just 2 points, behind Toro Rosso. In 2010 they are 2nd to Ferrari, and though they are 14 points behind, they have closed the gap – thanks in large part to Jenson Button’s victory. With the way the points system has changed it’s not inconceivable to think that McLaren could be heading the Constructors’ Championship after this coming weekend’s race in Malaysia.

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Filed under Australian, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Year on Year Comparisons

McLaren: Year on Year Comparison – Race 1, Bahrain 2010

This year I am going to have to look at things from two different aspects – with the 2009 points system and the 2010 points system. The drivers are also different – while Lewis Hamilton has stayed, Heikki Kovalainen has been replaced by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button. So, without further ado let’s take a look at the two sets of data.

2009 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 0 0 0 TOTAL 6 2 8
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 6 2 8

 
 

2010 Points System

2009 2010
LH HK McLaren LH JB McLaren
TOTAL 0 0 0 TOTAL 15 6 21
Australian 0 0 0 Bahrain 15 6 21

 

Granted, with the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton in Australia last year and Heikki Kovalainen not managing to complete his first lap it wasn’t going to be hard for McLaren to improve on last year’s start, and that they did. At this point last year both McLaren and the drivers were on zero points, and not looking like progress was going to be made fast. This year, while there is still some work to do to match the speed around corners of the other teams, their straight line speed thanks to their summer innovation is at the top of the pile, so these comparison posts should look very rosey as the season progresses.

We have to remember that while it’s nice to improve from one season to the next,we have to be realistic and realise that in the case of McLaren that’s not a sign of huge achievement. As long as they keep up with the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull then this is going to be a very good season indeed.

As it’s only the first race and there wasn’t a great deal to talk about I’m going to leave with you a rare photo from Bahrain that captured both McLaren cars.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=mclaren&iid=8249648″ src=”3/f/c/a/F1_Grand_Prix_d6dd.jpg?adImageId=11310045&imageId=8249648″ width=”500″ height=”295″ /]
 

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Filed under Bahrain, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Year on Year Comparisons

Bahrain Grand Prix 2010 – Fantastic 3rd for Lewis Hamilton

Let me just remind you of the predictions I made before the race:

1st – Fernando Alonso
2nd – Sebastian Vettel
3rd – Lewis Hamilton

7th – Jenson Button

3 out of 4 is pretty damn good! It was a bit of luck that got Lewis Hamilton his 1st podium finish of the season as he managed to jump Nico Rosberg thanks to Rosberg being held back because of Jenson Button entering the pits. And who said Hamilton and Button could’t work as a team?

Things didn’t start so well for Lewis as he was over-taken by Nico Rosberg at the start. Before the race there were worries that Lewis may be heavy on the tyres, and that would be to the detriment of his race performance. Not only did he cope very well but he mentioned over the radio that Rosberg was holding him up and once in clear space was putting in fast laps up their with the best of them.

Jenson himself lost a place at the start, and mirroring Lewis, he too gained that place back during the tyre change stop. After the race he said that he’d been conserving his tyres in the first stint and thought maybe he’d come in too early. After the one and only pit stop Jenson stayed behind Schumacher for the whole race, who he said held him up but there was no chance to overtake. After qualifying 8th, Jenson finished in 7th in his first race with McLaren.

As the race progressed it became clear that race leader Sebastian Vettel had a problem with his car. This turned out to be an exhaust failure which allowed eventual winner Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and then Lewis Hamilton to pass him. So from a superb 4th place qualifying, Lewis ended up on the podium in 3rd – an excellent start to the season.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=bahrain+grand+prix&iid=8233358″ src=”e/4/0/c/F1_Grand_Prix_8378.jpg?adImageId=11240803&imageId=8233358″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

While being interviewed on the BBC F1 Forum Jenson was asked about the 40+ second gap between him and the Ferraris, to which he responded by pointing out that Hamilton was a lot closer at 20+ seconds behind. It was nice to see that Jenson both sees that there is more to get out of the car from him and that Hamilton performed better. So far the McLaren team seem to all be working very well as a team – could Lewis have finally found the perfect team mate?

Lewis gets 15 points for 3rd place while Jenson gets 6 points for 7th place. With a total of 21 points McLaren currently sit 2nd on the Constructor’s Championship, 22 points behind Ferrari and 3 points ahead of Mercedes.

What has become evident after this weekend is that qualification is more important than ever, something Lewis and especially Jenson will have to work on. It wasn’t the most interesting of races and it remains to be seen if this was the result of the no refuelling rule change or the lack of overtaking chances at the Bahrain circuit. As a McLaren fan I’m very pleased with how things have gone this weekend, as it seemed they could have gone a lot worse at one point.

Also worthy of a mention is Heikki Kovalainen, who finished 15th in his Lotus, the highest position of all the new cars.

Race Results (courtesy of Sidepodcast.com):

1 Fernando Alonso 1hr 39:20.4
2 Felipe Massa +16.0
3 Lewis Hamilton +23.1
4 Sebastian Vettel +38.7
5 Nico Rosberg +40.02
6 Michael Schumacher +44.1
7 Jenson Button +45.2
8 Mark Webber +46.3
9 Tonio Liuzzi +53.0
10 Rubens Barrichello +6
11 Robert Kubica +69.0
12 Adrian Sutil +82.9
13 Jaime Alguersuari +92.6
14 Nico Hulkenberg +1 Lap
15 Heikki Kovalainen +2 Laps
16 Sebastien Buemi +3 Laps
17 Jarno Trulli +3 Laps
DNF Pedro de la Rosa Lap 30
DNF Bruno Senna Lap 18
DNF Timo Glock Lap 17
DNF Vitaly Petrov Lap 14
DNF Kamui Kobayashi Lap 12
DNF Lucas di Grassi Lap 3
DNF Karun Chandhok Lap 2

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Filed under Bahrain, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton tests the McLaren MP4-25 on day 3 in Jerez

After the first 2 days of testing, which saw Jenson Button at the wheel of his MP4-25, day 3 in Jerez saw of 2008 Champion Lewis Hamilton out on the track. First the times (courtesy of Formula1.com), then the explanation.

1. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:19.919, 76 Laps
2. Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber, 1:20.736, 58 Laps
3. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:21.428, 48 Laps
4. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.603, 72 Laps
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:21.783, 59 Laps
6. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:22.000, 68 Laps
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:22.820, 53 Laps
8. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:23.217, 120 Laps
9. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:23.985, 68 Laps
10. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, 1:37.107, 8 Laps

Now, before you panic and think it’s all going pear shaped like this time last year, there is a reason for the slow time, in comparison to the other drivers:

With wet weather forecast to hit the circuit today, the test team had specifically devised a run programme to make best use of the day. The only dry running of the day took place in the morning, which the team used to undertake a number of aero mapping runs. Conducted at lower speeds, the only dry times of the day were therefore not representative of the team’s overall pace. As the rain started falling, focus shifted towards evaluating Bridgestone’s wet and intermediate compounds.

You can read the rest of the report from McLaren over at McLaren.com. So, not quite the disaster it looked like at first glance. As you can see from the following photo, it got pretty wet out on the track yesterday:

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=hamilton+jerez&iid=7896594″ src=”3/7/b/5/Sports_News_5bf3.jpg?adImageId=10232368&imageId=7896594″ width=”500″ height=”338″ /]
 
The next photo, taken during the small window of dry weather, shows Lewis Hamilton being followed by Felipe Massa – get used to that Felipe ;o)

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=hamilton+jerez&iid=7891638″ src=”0/5/7/8/Formula_One_064a.jpg?adImageId=10232370&imageId=7891638″ width=”500″ height=”345″ /]
 
Interesting to see the sponsorship of Santander on the Ferrari with the addition of white to the traditionally all red livery. Lewis is out in Jerez testing again today, let’s hope the weather is better than yesterday so he can a good few laps of dry running completed.

On a side note, Hamilton’s McLaren team mate of 2008 and 2009, Heikki Kovalianen, was at the launch of his new car as part of the Lotus Racing team. Here he he is with the brand new Lotus T127, with team mate Jarno Trulli, at yesterday’s launch in London:

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=kovalainen+lotus&iid=7896661″ src=”3/e/b/8/Lotus_F1_launch_5d67.jpg?adImageId=10232378&imageId=7896661″ width=”500″ height=”327″ /]
 
Best of luck at the new team Heikki, hope it goes well – though not too well!

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Filed under Constructors, Drivers, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Lotus Racing, McLaren, Testing