Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Kovalainen Q&A
Heikki Kovalainen
Heikki Kovalainen drives for the Renault Formula One team, where he replaced the world champion Fernando Alonso at the start of the 2007 season.

He was born in 1981 in Suomussalmi, close to the border with Lapland in northern Finland.

He is a BBC Sport columnist, and lives in Oxford with his English girlfriend Catherine.

This weekend he will be competing in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Heikki Kovalainen on a Skidoo in northern Finland
Nothing's ever too fast - the faster and more power and grip, the better it is

Heikki Kovalainen
What's your earliest memory?
I was two or three years old and I was driving around my home. I had a plastic moped and was pushing it around the house.

What makes you sad?
Losing - at anything.

What makes you happy?
Winning - whatever I do, whether it's a race or a computer game or whatever. If I win, I'm always happy.

What is your greatest achievement?
Getting to Formula One as a driver.

What's your most embarrassing moment?
I was testing a GP2 car in Paul Ricard in the south of France a couple of years ago. They had hired me there as a Formula One driver to give some feedback. It was quite a cool morning and we had cold tyres and I left the garage a little bit too fast and hit the pit wall right out of the garage and took a corner off the car.

A Hummer
I like American cars, with a lot of chrome and tinted windows and a big stereo

What's your best racing memory?
Probably beating Michael [Schumacher] in the Race of Champions [in 2004]. It was a fantastic atmosphere to beat him in a Ferrari and then to beat [world rally champion Sebastien] Loeb in the grand final. It's probably the greatest feeling I've had.

What's your resting heart rate?
Fifty beats per minute.

What car do you drive?
A Renault Megane Sport.

What car would you drive if you weren't paid by Renault to drive that one?
Probably some 4x4, a big Hummer maybe, with a lot of chrome and tinted windows and a big stereo. I like American cars. They're always big and shiny and I am quite into tuning things.

What is your greatest thrill?
Racing. I've also done a little bit of flying. I've got a helicopter licence, and that's also very exciting.

Is there such a thing as too fast?
No. Nothing's ever too fast. Maybe sometimes on the road some people are too fast if they don't know how to control the car, but in racing, the faster and more power and grip, the better it is.

What is danger?
Danger is part of my job. It's always there, but you can't think about it too much otherwise you start to be too slow.

Heikki Kovalainen drives his Renault F1 car through Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium
Spa is a proper, proper track - you feel a little bit more like a racing driver than on some of the other tracks; there is still no room for error

Is there a god?
Probably somewhere.

When did you last tell a lie?
Normally I tell the truth whether it's nice or not.

What's the best thing about being Finnish?
Obviously the blonde hair. People like blonde hair. Obviously I hope my girlfriend isn't reading this! Also, we have a good reputation in racing. Whenever people hear about a driver and he's from Finland, they think positive rather than negative straightaway.

Why aren't you a rally driver?
It's a good question, and I'm a big fan of rallying. I have good friends in rallying. It's just that when I drove for the first time it was in a go-kart on Tarmac when I was six years old and I got into go-karts. Some time in the future I'd like to do a bit of rallying.

What's the best thing about being a Grand Prix driver?
Being able to drive the fastest cars in the world.

And the worst?
A lot of travelling is not very good for your social life. We spend a lot of time away testing, racing or doing PR, and it's not very easy to settle down anywhere. It's difficult to say where your home is, because you're always going somewhere.

Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen
Kovalainen with world champion Alonso - his best friend in F1
What's your favourite F1 track?
Spa. It's a proper, proper track. Some of the run-off areas are still very small, and you feel a little bit more like a racing driver than on some of the other tracks. There is still no room for error.

And your least favourite?
Probably Paul Ricard. I've been testing there quite a lot in the last few years. It's one of those circuits where there's basically Tarmac and car parks everywhere and artificial chicanes. I don't like it.

What's Bernie Ecclestone like?
He says "Hello" to me every time I see him, and "How are things going?". He's obviously very important in F1

Is F1 a sport or a commercial venture?
Definitely a sport. A very high-profile, difficult sport.

Who's the friendliest Formula One driver?
I get on best with Fernando [Alonso], as a result of last year when I was spending some time with him in the same team. We talk about many other things as well.

When are you happiest?
Probably when I'm at home with my friends, playing some good computer game or just relaxing.

The actor Daniel Craig, star of the James Bond film Casino Royale
I'm a big James Bond fan - I've got a collection, but I think the latest one is probably the best

What's your favourite computer game?
Flight Simulator.

What's your idea of a perfect day?
Probably includes a little bit of sport, maybe some tennis with friends, and then cook some food at home and watch a movie. It would probably be around my home all day long. Obviously I like to drive and I'm quite happy when I'm driving, but work is work, and free time is free time.

What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought?
Probably my gaming computer. I haven't ever bought a house or a car.

What's your favourite film?
I'm a big James Bond fan. I've got a collection of them. I like all of them, but I think the latest one is probably the best.

What's your favourite album?
Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell. I've discovered it quite recently and I'm playing it a lot at the moment.

What's the last book you read?
I think I haven't looked at a book since I left school.

What's your favourite meal?
Pasta with some tomato sauce and bread.

What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Probably shower.

What's your favourite place?
Finland and my home town - Suomussalmi. It's a very small village, peaceful and quiet - that's why I like it.

What's your perfect holiday?
In the winter, going back home to the north of Finland and doing some skiing and a bit of Skidoos [snowmobiling].

Interview by Andrew Benson

Heikki Kovalainen column
11 Jul 07 |  Formula One
Around Silverstone with an F1 star
05 Jul 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
20 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
12 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
15 May 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
17 Apr 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
20 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
24 Jan 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
14 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
20 Dec 06 |  Formula One
Kovalainen wins Race of Champions
04 Dec 04 |  Motorsport


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us