Heikki Kovalainen says he is not interested in leaving Team Lotus despite speculation having linked the Finn with a seat at the Renault team.
Kovalainen joined Lotus from McLaren at the start of the 2010 season and has a contract with the team for next year too.
His strong performances this year, however, have triggered rumours that he may be targeted by other teams.
But Kovalainen insists Lotus is the best place for him at the moment, and that he would only leave if he was offered a drive by one of the top teams.
"I really have to be fair with Tony [Fernandes, team boss], and last year I agreed for two more years because I could see a year in this team would not be enough," Kovalainen told AUTOSPORT in an interview.
"so I am already signed for next year and to be honest it would need to be a really top seat before I would even mention it to Tony.
"And if there was a seat available at a very top team then I am sure Tony would say to me 'go for it'. But somewhere in the middle, I would not want to look at that. Our team can make a step forward next season, and I am quite glad to be part of it.
"I feel I am in a good position, I have a good relationship with the team because I have been here since the beginning, so at the moment I have not had any contacts with anyone and it would need to be a serious contact. After next year, who knows.
"We need to see where we are going and I hope we make the step forward and we can do it - and at the moment there is no better place for me here, the support is great. With these performances I feel I have been able to take my position in the team and not just because I am good friends with Tony, but actually being able to perform but then who knows."
Kovalainen left McLaren after two difficult seasons as Lewis Hamilton's team-mate, and the Finn concedes he was lacking confidence during that period.
He said moving to Lotus was like a fresh start for him, and claims the decision has paid off.
"To be honest whatever talk it is in the paddock it is much more positive, so that is a good thing," he said. "I think this whole thing for my career has slowly turned around again, after Renault and McLaren, things were not working and it was clear I was not able to get the results/performances that people were expecting.
"I realised it myself, I realised it should not be like this, I have done much better before. I didn't have confidence, I lost the confidence totally and that is why I felt I needed to go back to the starting point, to start building it, and the confidence is good and at the same time, everything has turned into positive.
"For me the paddock is a happy place to be."
He added: "I feel the performances have been good. I have made a lot of changes since McLaren/Renault days, I could feel it is not working. I felt that I was not performing at the level I should be, and I wasn't feeling comfortable here, the whole paddock felt not easy for me.
"I changed many, many things and was then rebuilding my concepts. Now I think I am on the right track, it is working really well. I am much more comfortable in the paddock, the performances are now at a level that they need to be in F1 if you want to stay here, so I am glad I have been able to turn it around at the right direction.
"I think I went to the right direction, I had to come back to starting point, trying another route. I think the performances are really good and now I need to show it in the results."
Kovalainen said he has been pleased with the progress made by Lotus, which made its debut at the start of last year.
But the Finn is adamant that both his team and himself have to take a significant step forward in 2012.
"It is actually going exactly like Tony was telling me a few years ago," Kovalainen added. "When I was first with Mike [Gascoyne], and the guys, the factory was still empty and there was not much there, the concept I had was convincing and it looked realistic and we have been able to stick to it quite well.
"It wasn't a concept that in two years we will be winning races. It was clearly step by step and we have been able to stick to that very well.
"Last year we were a young team, this year we were still that but next year we are an established team and we need to step up to another level and as a driver. I feel that I am ready for any kind of challenge but I still need to improve it. I look forward to that, and I am comfortable here in the team, that is the main thing, everyone is very motivated."
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