Kovalainen ready to push to the limitMon 12 Mar, 12:29 PMThe Australian Grand Prix will mark something of a fresh start for the Renault team. With Fernando Alonso now with the rival McLaren Mercedes team, Renault head into the new season with veteran racer Giancarlo Fisichella who is joined by the team's former test driver, Heikki Kovalainen. The duo talk of the challenge ahead as they and the team go for the title once again.Heikki, Australia will be your first Grand Prix. How are you preparing for this milestone in your career?"I think I started preparing over a year ago, when I joined the ING Renault F1 Team as third driver! I was able to learn my job in the best conditions, get to know the team, and visit the factories. It was a long apprenticeship, but now I feel completely ready to go to the next level. I can’t wait to get to Melbourne!"What are you expecting from your first race?"I am expecting a tough race. I am preparing for every possibility, and I know that I will have to push right to the limit. With the team, we will have to find the perfect set-up for the R27 to get maximum potential out of the car. From a personal point of view, I want to get to the finish without any problems and finish in the points. I think that would be a good start."You will have three hours of free practice on Friday. Will that be an advantage for you as a rookie?"The new timetable on Friday is a definite positive, particularly for a rookie driver like me who doesn’t know the circuit. I think we will have plenty of time to find the right setup, and from a driving point of view, I will have enough time to learn the circuit and feel comfortable. It will mean I can approach qualifying with no worries. That’s a big advantage for me."What are the main characteristics of the circuit?"From what I know, it is a track that’s often very dirty and slippery in the opening sessions on Friday, because it is a street circuit. People are driving on the roads every day, so you have to be careful because the track can be very green. The track changes all the way through the weekend, so you have to know how to adapt, and adjust the car set-up for this characteristic. The team has a lot of experience here, with good set-ups from the last two seasons, and I am confident that will mean we can approach the race in the best possible way."Giancarlo, you won the Australian Grand Prix in 2005. Do you particularly enjoy the Albert Park circuit?"Yes, it’s one of my favourite circuits, and I have very good memories after my win there in 2005. It is an interesting track because it’s on public roads, so it is changing and evolving throughout the weekend, which is something we must adapt to with the set-up of the car."You have completed over 5000 km of testing this winter. Is the R27 ready for its first race?"The R27 is an evolution of the R26 and the R25, both of which were always quick in Melbourne. We have a good baseline, and lots of potential in the car; and we have worked hard this winter to be able to fight with the front-runners at the start of the year. We know that it is quite a low grip circuit in Australia, so we will focus on that area. It will not be an easy race, and we don’t expect it to be, but the motivation in the team is very high; we will make the most of every opportunity we have."What is your objective for the first race?"I want to score as many points as possible in the early races of the year. If we cannot fight for the win, I will be trying to out-score my rivals, and finish on the podium if it is possible."The first Grand Prix of the season will also give us a clearer idea of the pecking order for 2007. How do you view the situation?"It’s hard to say at the moment. BMW and Williams seem like they are ready to challenge, but I think Ferrari, McLaren and Renault will once again be the main favourites at the start of the year. But now, we need to see if the race confirms our predictions…"