Heikki - open title race

Finnish driver remains upbeat

Heikki Kovalainen is refusing to let the ever-growing gap between himself and F1's championship leader get him down, saying there is still a long way to go in the title race.

After seven races Kovalainen trails championship leader Robert Kubica by 27 points, having scored just one point in the last four events.

It was a disappointing run for Kovalainen especially as the McLaren MP4-23 is a car capable of winning grands prix and ultimately the World title.

The Finn is refusing to let it get to him, stating that there is still a long way to go before the championship is decided.

"I'm not really looking at the points tables at the moment," he said.

"The world title is still wide open, and having an opportunity to score good points in France will only help me.

"I'm still absolutely determined to get my first win under my belt."


And the McLaren driver is hoping he can achieve that goal at next weekend's French GP.

"As I've been saying all season, I'm gradually getting to grips with this car even if the results haven't backed it up," he added.

"And I really enjoy Magny-Cours so I'm looking forward to making progress throughout practice and being in a very good position for the race itself."

Kovalainen should also have one less driver to fight with at the start of the grand prix as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton will starting from 11th at best after being handed a 10-grid slot penalty for his Canadian accident.

"Mentally, it's just something that you learn to overcome quickly. It certainly won't affect my preparations for the French Grand Prix," said Hamilton of his penalty.

"We've already looked at the best ways of optimising the strategy to help us move up the field and I guess I'll just have to pass some cars if I want to get into the points!"

The 23-year-old concedes that he faces a tough task as Magny-Cours "isn't the easiest place to overtake but it's certainly possible".

"You can dive down the inside into the Adelaide Hairpin and also have a look into the penultimate corner.

"But an area we can really focus on is the strategy - Magny-Cours has a relatively short pit lane which does open up the strategic options available to us in the race."