Sunday, 12 February 2012

Guest Article by Ellis Crozier-Gittings: Heikki Kovalainen

The latest guest article to be written for me is by Ellis Crozier-Gittings, as he looks at the career of Heikki Kovalainen, so far.

Kovalainen's McLaren period was lacklustre
Yes, it's February, yes, it's 2012, forget the Olympics, F1 is here!! Over the last few years, I have only really paid attention to the top teams. Now, I am trying to pay equal attention to the lower teams. This is why I am focusing on Heikki Kovalainen.

Heikki was a Renault test driver from 2004, to the end of 2006, and with Alonso heading off to Mclaren, Heikki took over his seat. He had a moderately successful season, finishing with 30 points in 7th place, compared to team-mate Fisichella's 21. He was tipped for big things heading to Mclaren in 2008. His season did include 1 win, but apart from that, it was far from successful, with another 7th place in the World Driver's Championship, this time with 53 points. 2009 was even more unsuccessful, with 22 points and 12th place in the standings left Mclaren with no choice but to part ways with the Finn. A move to Lotus (now Caterham) was supposed to be a big downgrade in his career. But today, I am investigating, was it a downgrade? You have to admit, would you want to move from the 2nd most successful team ever, to a new team preparing for a new season? It does seem very obvious the answer to that question, but we have seen a new man. With Mclaren, he was under pressure to perform, especially considering he was team-mate to a certain Lewis Hamilton. He never really got to grips in the Lewis Hamilton-orientated car, and seemed to struggle, with only 1 win in Hungary, where he was especially lucky. By the end of 2009, after another poor season, it was inevitable he would go. It seemed a hard choice for where to go, with most of the seats at top teams taken. But instead, he made a very bold gamble, and moved to Lotus.

Kovalainen in action at Jerez this week
I was impressed with Kovalainen for this move. It could have failed, and left him without any credibility, but, for me, he has made it better. Paired alongside Jarno Trulli, everyone was expecting a stellar battle for supremacy at Lotus. But instead, without scoring any points, he blew him away. He performed very well, easily the star of the new teams, earning him a lot of credit from drivers and pundits alike. 2011 was more of the same, feeding on his momentum he gained the year before, and continued to blow Trulli away. Trulli did struggle with power steering, whereas Kovalainen experienced no such problems. He had a superb finish of 13th in Italy as his highest place. Will 2012 be more of the same? I personally think it will be even better, with a much better Caterham car to drive.

In conclusion, I have been very impressed with the way Kovalainen had handled his disappointing stint at Mclaren, and his move to a new team. Hopefully for him, 2012 will be an even better season.

Ellis blogs about football at and can be followed on Twitter @EllisEll.

I interview Ellis about the 2011 season
Ellis' blog

Here at Formula One Discussion and Analysis we are always looking for guest articles. If you would like to write a guest article, then let me know via email

1 comment:

  1. Really nice piece Ellis! I admit, that I was quite exited when Heikki first came to F1, but he failed to impress. That is, until he got the Lotus car far closer to the established teams than I would have expected.

    The best thing for me is, this shows how much enjoying F1 is not just about the champions or the championship but about starring performance all through the field!