Heikki Kovalainen says Renault wanted a different Finn in his seat for the 2007 season.
The 25-year-old rookie, who is replacing back to back world champion Fernando Alonso, admitted that signing him to be a racer is a “risk” for the French squad.
“I knew Renault wanted a big name and if they had been able to get Kimi Raikkonen, I’m sure they would have taken him instead of me,” Kovalainen said in a column for the BBC.
“I understand that totally. It’s less of a risk for a big team if they have a driver who is a proven winner.”
Still, the former GP2 racer and Renault test driver insists that he is not dreading the pressure of filling Alonso’s 15-GP winning boots.
“There will be a lot of pressure,” Heikki confessed, “but mainly because I want the results, not because I am filling someone else’s shoes.”
Kovalainen said the ultimate goal is to repeat Alonso’s success, but a more realistic goal for the first race in Melbourne is “to score points”.
In an separate interview provided by Renault’s press office, he said: “Maybe there will be some bad races, but I will focus on things one step at a time.”