Heikki Kovalainen insists that he does not feel under any extra pressure to perform despite McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh saying yesterday that he needed improved results to retain his drive.
The Finn, who has scored nine points this season compared to team-mate Lewis Hamilton's 19, with a best finish of fifth, believes that he is already putting enough pressure on himself and is not distracted by the uncertainty over his future.
"Obviously I see at the moment that it's important to get good results for myself and the team," Kovalainen told AUTOSPORT. "But I don't get any more pressure from what Martin has said.
"A driver who wants to be successful always puts a lot of pressure on himself and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to do well, I want to do better than fifth in races and that's what I'm focusing on. I'm not concerned about rumors and speculation."
Kovalainen added that the conversation he had with Whitmarsh yesterday was an informal one about his performance, and that he doesn't feel like he has been given an ultimatum.
"It was actually coincidence that I saw him, because I was coming back from a coffee break," said Kovalainen. "I was running in the simulator yesterday and he happened to walk past me in the corridor.
"I had a chat with him and I didn't have a feeling from that conversation that he was giving me a kick in the butt and saying that you had better deliver or you'll be out. It was absolutely not that kind of feeling. In fact, I said to him that I'm here spending extra days in the simulator because I want to show everybody that both cars at McLaren can get the results.
"Martin agreed with that and said whatever you need, whatever the team can do for you, just keep asking. That was the nature of the conversation – it was positive."
Kovalainen said that he agreed that he needs to achieve improved results and that Whitmarsh was right when he said "on his own evaluation, he has not raced as well as he would have liked and we would have liked him to this year." However, he is optimistic that the work he has done since Hungary will raise his performance in this weekend's European Grand Prix.
"Martin is correct when he says that I was the one who was disappointed about the result," said the Finn. "I'm sure the team was as well, but I was the first one to say that was not right.
"I think we've understood quite a lot of problems that I had. I lost a lot of performance with my tyres and I think we understand the reasons. Hopefully this weekend we will see a step forward and we can repeat what Lewis did in Hungary."