Judging by an exclusive Q&A the official Formula 1 site has with Heikki Kovalainen, F1B’s favorite former McLaren driver who’s a Finn but not named Kimi, is pretty happy with how things are going at Caterham.
Not that he wouldn’t want to be farther up front, running a bit faster and mixing it up with Ferrari and Red Bull, but … he certainly doesn’t seem annoyed by where he’s at at this point in his F1 career.
“We have achieved a huge amount in what is still a very short amount of time – and there are no shortcuts to success,” he said. “The main thing is that there’s nothing we can do about the past, so it’s better not to worry about what has gone before. The fact is we are now making good progress and we proved that in Valencia, so the future is the only thing we need to focus on. We’re working on more updates, some of which we’ll take a look at in Silverstone, and we’ll keep making progress. So we’re all looking forwards, not backwards.”
His answers continue in that vein. Reflective, realistic, a bit of the usual F1 cliches, but not too full of them. All in all, a pretty solid sit-down.
For my money, this is the key answer in the piece; it’s in response to a question about whether getting ahead of Toro Rosso in the standings is the goal:
“I think that’s probably a tough ask. We shouldn’t be judged by the number of points we score this season, but by how far we’ve come in terms of performance. If we’re fighting with Toro Rosso then we’ve done well, but we’re not quite there yet, and there’s another gap to the pack ahead of them. We need to make sure we can keep qualifying ahead of Toro Rosso at all sorts of tracks, like we did at Valencia. And if we can race them then we should be judged on that, not how many points we have scored this year.”
It’s also worth pointing out his thoughts on team mate Vitaly Petrov:
“We get on well. He’s been a good addition to the team and it’s been fun racing him this year. He’s good, there’s no doubt about that. He’s quick and he’s learning how to get the most from the car and the team, so it’s good. We work well together with our engineers and there are no secrets. Nothing’s hidden. We’re all working to achieve the same goal, to push the whole team forward.”
Amazingly, there doesn’t seem to be a single word about golf.
If you don’t come away from this piece rooting a bit more for Heikki and Caterham, well, then you’re probably Paul Charsley. This team has become the little team that can, and just might.
The question is: When? Any guesses?