• 20 Questions: Heikki Kovalainen

'I don't think I'm a bad passenger but I like to be in control'

Claire Furnell February 2, 2010

Every time ESPNF1 catches up with a driver or celebrity we pose our light-hearted 20 questions. This time we speak to Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Heikki Kovalainen fancies climbing a mountain or something easier like a walk through the desert © Sutton Images
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What is your most memorable race so far and why?
Hungary 2008, I won the race, my first, quite simple.

If you could ask for any car for Christmas - what would it be and why?
The quickest car on the grid - as long as it's Lotus and it's quick I'm happy.

What is your favourite item of clothing?
Maybe my jeans or my trainers. I'm not that concerned about fashion.

What goes through your mind during the last lap of a race?
It depends - I always try to focus and push 100% to the end. But if things have gone wrong I just want to see the chequered flag, go home and be miserable. But if you're fighting for a victory and someone's right up your rear you want to keep concentrating and fight to the end. This season, no matter what happens, I'll be pushing all the way.

Who is your hero and why?
I don't have heroes. I make my own career and I'd rather be myself.

What do you do to relax?
I play computer games, go online and play rally games and I have a flight simulator - I have a helicopter licence and I like to fly real helicopters.

What is your worst habit?
I'm quite competitive, sometimes too competitive - even small things can end up being sort of an unnecessary fight if it doesn't go right ...

If you hadn't made it to F1 what would you be doing now?
I would probably be a rally driver. If I hadn't made it in motorsports I'd possibly be flying, maybe military aircraft, hardcore fighter jets, or a military helicopter - avoiding the bullets, that would be fun.

If you could interview anyone involved in F1 who would it be and what would you ask them?
Ummm ... there is a person but I don't want to say who ...

Oversteer or Understeer - Choose?
Oversteer - with opposite lock

Heikki Kovalainen celebrates his first and so far only victory in Hungary in 2008 © Sutton Images
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What's your goal in life outside of motorsport?
I'm looking at businesses I could get involved in - I'd like to do some sort of sports career, not like winning the Tour De France or winning the 100 metres, but maybe something like climb a mountain, walk across a desert or do some marathons.

What is your biggest fear or phobia?
I don't really have any.

Are you a good passenger?
I don't remember the last time I was a passenger. Obviously in a plane I'm fun, but I honestly can't remember when I was last a passenger in a road car. If I can't drive I'll walk. Or find another car. Or cycle. I don't think I'm a bad passenger but I do like to be in control.

What rule would you like to introduce into F1?
I went to see NASCAR and someone hit Montoya. He went into the pits and for two hours they worked on his car. Then he went back out and hit the guy back. Maybe like that - introduce payback into F1 ... it was quite funny.

What quality do you most dislike in a person?
When people aren't straightforward. I can see when someone's not being truthful and so far all the people I've worked with have been very straightforward. That's particularly true at Lotus Racing as Mike Gascoyne is very, very straightforward which is good for me - there won't be any situations where I'll be wondering what he's thinking ...

Do you have any superstitions?
None at all - I don't believe in magic ...

What is your least favourite circuit?
I like all the circuits as they're all different - I don't really have any least favourites.

Who is your favourite driver?
As a driver I don't really look at the other drivers - as a person I got on very well with Kimi [Raikkonen].

Who will win the drivers' championship in 2010?
I don't really care - if it's not us.

Who will win the constructors' championship?
Same as above.

Claire Furnell is the senior editor of ESPNF1

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Tonio Liuzzi gives his views at the end of every grand prix weekend Tonio Liuzzi has raced in Formula One since 2005, driving for Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India before landing his latest seat at HRT for 2011. He has been an ESPNF1 columnist since 2010, giving a driver's insight into every race weekend