Kovalainen confident grid penalty will not harm Malaysian GP prospects
|Tuesday, March 20th 2012, 10:55 GMT|
Heikki Kovalainen says he has accepted his penalty for passing behind the safety car in the Australian Grand Prix, and does not think it will make too much difference to his and Caterham's Malaysian GP chances.
The Finn is confident he will swiftly be able to regain the places he loses when he is demoted five places on the Sepang grid.
"I've accepted the penalty I was given for passing [Sebastian] Vettel under the safety car - it was definitely a bit harsh but the rules are set and it's just unfortunate I made a small mistake that will put me back five places on the grid at Sepang," said Kovalainen.
"It's not really a problem - we know we can pass the cars that will probably be ahead on the grid and I'll just have to do my best to put myself as far up the grid as I can on Saturday so we can minimise the effect of the penalty in the race."
Team boss Tony Fernandes believes Sepang will give Caterham a better chance to show the progress it made over the winter than the Australian race did.
"We have obviously improved our pace relative to our 2011 speed, but the teams ahead have also improved, so even though we are closer than this time last year we still have work to do to bridge the gap in qualifying," said Fernandes.
"However, in the race I think it looks like a different matter. At the end of last year we were agonisingly close to a number of cars ahead, and this year our race lap times in Australia were on a par with at least three cars ahead.
"With a bit of luck, which obviously deserted us in Melbourne, I think the Malaysian race will give us a chance to show just what we have achieved over the winter, and that gives us good reason to be optimistic about the weekend ahead."