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Caterham F1 duo Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov are raring to go ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix next weekend, with the pair looking forward to finding out where their team sits in the overall pecking order. After a successful testing period, in which another step forward has been highlighted by the Norfolk-based squad, hopes are high that points can be a much more realistic aim in 2012.
"After three pretty solid weeks of testing we’re heading to Melbourne in good shape," explained Finland's Kovalainen. "We’ve clearly moved on from where we started in 2011, and are a long way ahead of where we were in 2010 but we’re still all staying very realistic about what we can do this season.
"Whatever happens when we get there, I just want it all to start right now. I’ve had a great winter, worked hard and am heading into 2012 feeling fitter than ever. I’ve made a couple of changes off track that will help me focus even more on my job with the team and with the step forward we’ve taken with this year’s car, I’m more keen than ever to get out on track and see how we’ve progressed again this year."
Petrov, who joins Caterham from the now named Lotus F1 outfit, is under no illusions over the team's current performance, but has set his sights on taking advantage of rivals' potential mistakes at the challenging Albert Park street circuit.
"I think it’s pretty clear we won’t be in a position to fight for a podium again but I think the goal will be to push the midfield teams as hard as we can and who knows what could happen," he said. "Usually there are quite a few retirements in Australia, and there are a couple of areas of the track that don’t leave any room for error, so I hope we’re there at the end of the race and able to take advantage.
"I’m really enjoying life with my new team. It’s still early days, but I’ve been given a great welcome by everyone and I’m starting to build a good relationship with my engineer, so i think we have a good year ahead of us, whatever happens.
"We spent a lot of time in Barcelona looking at how to fine tune the setups, and while we do have more work to do in Australia we made some real progress at the last test which puts me in as good a position as we could hope for when we get to Melbourne."
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