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GP Week : Issue 162
GPWEEK: In recent weeks your name has been mentioned in association with a move to Toro Rosso. Whether or not you believe in the rumours, is it flattering to know that people are watching your performances, and that you’re being talked about by team principals? HEIKKI KOVALAINEN: In a way it’s good, of course. But at the end of last year the team principals voted me the ninth-best driver in the championship, and that was a more satisfying list to be on. It showed that the team principals have noticed what I’ve done, which is great. When it comes to the Toro Rosso rumour – I’ve also heard a Sauber rumour – I think it’s irrelevant at this point. Everyone’s looking around everywhere, but it’s nothing serious. I think the most important thing now is how our team develops before doing anything else. I want to return to the podium, I want to win races, but I don’t really pay attention to those rumours. There’s a lot of rumours about everything. Everyone’s linked to a Ferrari, everyone’s linked to a Mercedes ... I think at this time of year we get a lot of that. I know where I stand. I know where we stand together with my management, and I know as a driver where I stand. It’s just a matter of eventually making – hopefully – the right choice. For the last two years I had a straight deal with Caterham, so I didn’t talk to anyone. Now that’s coming to an end this year and I need to talk to Caterham and see where the team is going. We’ll make a decision after that about whether to talk to anyone else or not. You talk to the team about their future development plans as part of the negotiations? Absolutely, yes. I’ll have many chats with Tony [Fernandes, team principal]. We’ve never sat down and said ‘right, your contract’s coming to an end, what are we going to do?’... It’s just one of those chats you have when you see the people you work with. Exactly. We haven’t seriously talked about the future yet, which is fine. I don’t think anyone is in a rush. And looking at the top [of the grid], there are a few key players who haven’t decided what they’re going to do. I think everyone’s waiting to see what’s going to happen. I haven’t been thinking about it at all. Lewis said a few races ago that as far as he was concerned, he wanted to concentrate on his performances, not his contract, at this point in the season. Is that where you are? It’s a fair comment – the better the performances you can deliver, the more teams will be interested in you. It’s as simple as that. You do one good race, and everyone’s after you. You do one bad race, and everyone thinks ‘oh... that wasn’t great’. The media are lovely, aren’t they? Well, that’s how it is. That’s why it’s better not to get drawn into that too much. Speaking for myself, I keep the focus on the weekend – the better my performance is, the easier it is for my management to talk about the future. I think the future for me here in the paddock is good. I think I’m in a good place now, I feel everything is in good balance, and the work that I’m doing is good. There are only ever positive reports of the work you’re doing with the car... I don’t have any issues at the moment. I’m happy with how I see the team evolving, but of course everybody wants to see us racing in the mid-field. Everybody wants to move for ward and we’re working very hard to make that move. Whether we can make the move or not... It’s always possible – look at Williams. We were racing them last year, and they won a race this year. It can be done. 5 MINUTES WITH HEIKKI KOVALAINEN Caterham’s flying Finn talks to KATE WALKER about a possible move next year. 5 MINUTES 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: