Kovalainen fired up on title chances

Heikki Kovalainen says he in going into the 2009 championship believing that he is ready to fight for the title

Kovalainen fired up on title chances

"It's too early to say but, yes, I hope so," the Finn told the official Formula One website.

"As a Formula One driver you have to go into every season believing you can be world champion, otherwise there's no point being here.

"And I totally believe I go into the new season with every chance of fighting for the world championship.

"I've learned so much from last year, I think I've developed both as a person and as a driver and I know that if the car is good then I'll have every chance of fighting for wins. And if that happens, I hope it will lead me towards fighting for the title."

Kovalainen joined McLaren as team-mate to Lewis Hamilton last year, but was overshadowed by the Briton, who clinched the title while the Finn finished in distant seventh position.

Kovalainen admits he needed more time than he expected to adapt to the team, but he feels he is much more prepared this time out.

"I think I went into 2008 in a very strong frame of mind, and feeling very positive," he added. "But looking back now, maybe it took longer than I anticipated to learn about the team and how to use the people in the team to help me.

"I also put a little bit too much pressure on myself when things didn't quite go my way, and I've learned not to worry too much about that now. I want to enjoy myself when I go racing.

"I definitely feel like I've really learned more about this team and how we can work together to get better results. It's something that Lewis already knew very well and I can see how that helped him last year. Now I feel much better prepared than I did last year."

The McLaren driver reckons, however, that it is still too early to judge how competitive each team will be.

"Honestly, who knows? Everybody at McLaren Mercedes has been working so hard over the winter and we feel we have a strong package. But who knows how much everyone else has done over the winter?

"Not even a test like this, where the majority of the teams are running their '09 cars, can give a real indication. That's what makes Formula One so fascinating and unpredictable. And that's also why I can't wait to get to Melbourne to find out!"

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