New front wing for Caterham
Kovalainen hoping for improved performance and downforce
By William Esler. Last Updated: 18/09/12 2:22pm
Heikki Kovalainen is hoping a new front wing will help Caterham edge closer to the midfield in Singapore this weekend.
The British-based squad are yet to score a point in Formula 1 despite registering a half century of races in Belgium, but have looked the most likely of the three 'new' teams to break their duck.
By their own admission, Caterham underperformed at Spa, but showed improved pace at Monza with Kovalainen finishing 14th and team-mate Vitaly Petrov 15th.
The Finn is hopeful that a better understanding of what went wrong in Belgium, coupled with increased downforce, will see the team take another step forward in Singapore.
"We will have a new front wing," Kovalainen told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview.
"It is slightly different and should give us a straightforward performance increase, some more downforce and hopefully makes our car a bit quicker. Other than that, there is nothing major, just a few small updates. The front wing is the main thing we will have this weekend.
"Singapore is a totally different circuit to Monza and Spa - it requires a different setup and the conditions are different. At the moment it is a bit of a guess how everyone will perform there, but certainly for us Monza was better than Spa.
"I know there has been a lot of data-analysing going on since those events, trying to understand why our Spa performance was not very good and then Monza was much more like normal and I think we understand the main issues. Hopefully, if we experience any problems this weekend we can react to them."
The city-state in south-east Asia is seven hours ahead of the United Kingdom. However, as the race is held under floodlights, the drivers must keep their body clocks on British time - something Kovalainen feels is not as big an issue as it might seem.
"It is not too difficult," he added. "The main thing is turn up their quite late or as late as possible, so that you don't give the body a chance to adjust to the local time.
"Otherwise for me, it is a case of making sure I stick to the planned routines that I have, trying to keep the sleeping and eating patterns as planned and making sure I don't go to bed too early and wake up too early as well. It works out quite well, I have plenty of experience from the past and it is not too difficult."
Fresh rumours surfaced at the weekend linking the Finn, who is out of contract at the end of the season, with Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari. But Kovalainen was quick to dismiss the speculation as just that.
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"There is no news for me to comment on at the moment. They are just rumours and there seems to be all sorts of rumours going around, so I don't really pay much attention to those.
"I will talk to Caterham at some point, I'll speak to Tony (Fernandes, Team Principal) and see what the plans are and after that talk with my management to see what we will do next year. My main focus is on my performance and to make sure I keep performing well, and these other things will sort themselves."
Away from the track, the main competition for Kovalainen this week will come on the golf course - in the form of Sky Sports F1 HD commentator David Croft.
"Yeah it should be fun, in Singapore they have some really nice courses, so let's see where we get," the Caterham driver chuckled. "It should be fun at least."