Date: 1st March 2011 at 10:21am
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Last season Heikki Kovalainen strutted around the Formula One paddock with a beaming smile on his face 99% of the time.

After leaving McLaren at the end of the 2009 season, a drop down to one of the newbie teams at the back of the F1 grid for 2010 wouldn’t have inspired many drivers.

But Heikki appeared to love the move, perhaps the pressure was off after previously being in a big corporate giant? Or perhaps the challenge was something that the Finnish driver was excited about.

Lotus last year was the best of the new teams, regularly beating Virgin Racing and Hispania, this season they have concentrated on further developments on the car and plan to not only stay ahead of the new teams, but to also catch up the mid-pack more established teams.

However the team has been forced to make one major sacrifice and that is to not run KERS from the start of the season, something that could really affect their chances of making strides during the 2011 championship: ‘If that is very obvious from the start of the season, then we have to react quickly to that, I think we need to just play it by ear and see where we are.’ Heikki Kovalainen told Autosport Magazine.

‘The decision was made to put more resources in the aerodynamics of the car, rather than on KERS. Of course as a driver I favour KERS, I’d rather have it because in a racing situation it’s very important, and it’s probably about 0.3 seconds in pure laptime as well. But the team decided it was more important to get the aerodynamics right, and add the KERS later on.

When the time comes that the team bosses feel confident enough to add a KERS device to the car, Lotus will move to add Renault’s KERS to the car: ‘It should be a reasonably good system, because Renault had it a couple of years ago and they’ve probably further developed it now.’

For more on KERS, read our previous article by clicking here.