Heikki Kovalainen: “Don’t listen to people who are negative.”

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

I’ve always liked Heikki Kovalainen for his boyish looks and after I interviewed him, I liked him even more! He’s probably the driver who gives the longest answers and I liked talking to him! 

310169_10150308834067710_602152709_7715941_1800337066_nQ: How different is it being with Lotus compared to being with McLaren?

A: It’s been a totally different challenge – Lotus is a new team whereas McLaren is a big and established team. So here we have to start from zero, but I think in a short time the team has done very well to prepare for the season. We aren’t really a new team anymore; we have found our place in the paddock and people respect us. Now we have to move forward and make a quicker car.


Q: Most challenging track you have ever raced on?

A: The Macau track during my days in Formula 3. The street circuit is so long and it’s quite difficult.


Q: Have you ever thought about what you would be if you weren’t an F1 driver?

A: Yeah I could be racing a rally car maybe, but if I weren’t in motorsports at all, I’d probably be flying a plane or a helicopter. I have a helicopter licence so I might have been a helicopter pilot!


Q: Who is the greatest driver of all time?

A: In F1 it has to be Michael Schumacher because of his results and his victories.


Q: Your most memorable race?

A: My victory in Hungary in 2008. My first victory in F1 will be the best memory, best feeling and best moment I remember always.


Q: What do you think of female drivers?

A: They are good drivers but it’s difficult for them to arrive in F1. F1 is very physical, and females just aren’t built as strong. It’s not a matter of their skills; they can do training and fitness but the female body is simply not built strong enough.


Q: If you could choose any woman to be your team-mate, who would it be?

A: Charlotte Johanssen, she looks like she could be a good team-mate.


Q: What is wrong with the world and how can you change it?

A: There are many things that are wrong in the world. I wish people will stop fighting and there be no more wars, but there’s nothing I can really do about it.


Q: If one day you are in charge of an F1 team, what would you do?

A: I don’t know; that would be a time past my career. I’ll probably try to be a good leader and a good example to motivate the team. But actually no, I wouldn’t want to be in charge of a team.


Q: Short or long hair on women?

A: It doesn’t matter, but probably long hair. It’s not a must but if I could choose, I’d choose long. And yes, my girlfriend has long hair!


Q: One thing you must do before you die?

A: I don’t have anything that I need to do. I don’t plan things too much, I just go for it.


Q: Biggest annoyance in life?

A: I don’t like people who are not honest and don’t tell the truth.


Q: iPhone or Blackberry?

A: I got both, but probably iPhone as it’s more simple to use and it works very well with my Mac.


Q: Tattoo or piercing?

A: Tattoo, no I don’t have one and maybe I might get one, but I’ve never thought about it.


Q: Boxers or briefs?

A: Boxers, more comfy.


Q: Slippers or sandals?

A: Slippers.


Q: Berms or jeans?

A: Jeans; even in hot countries like Singapore, it’s not a problem.


Q: Number of children you want to have in future?

A: I never thought about that, but eventually yes I want to have children.


Q: Advice for aspiring racing drivers who want to reach F1?

A: Work hard from a very young age, keep positive and try to show people that you are better than others. There is no short cut, just work hard – that’s the best advice my father gave to me. Believe in yourself and don’t listen to people who are negative. That’s worked very well for me.


Q: Anything they should know about F1 before coming into it?

A: It’s a tough world, so you have to be mentally and physically strong. There’s a lot of speculation and negativity surrounding you so you need to be strong enough to withstand it and get through it.


Q: General advice for our readers?

A: Keep positive, have faith and believe in yourself.




Team: Lotus Racing

Debut: 2007 Australian Grand Prix

Date of Birth: 19 October 1981

Place of Birth: Suomussalmi, Finland

Marital Status: Single

Nationality: Finnish


Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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