(from autosport) (Heikki is starting early with the sugar coated PR) Heikki Kovalainen says he is baffled about why McLaren have a reputation for being 'cold' inside the team - after claiming he is happier there than anywhere else he has been in his career. The Finn signed for the team at the end of last year, on the back of their tumultuous season that included the spy scandal and a major falling out with Fernando Alonso. And after only a few weeks with the team, Kovalainen says what he has experienced inside McLaren is very different to what he had heard. "I heard many stories before I joined McLaren, but I have no idea where those comments are coming from," Kovalainen told reporters during testing at Jerez. "Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming with me, the atmosphere is calm and everyone is working hard. I probably haven't been happier in my life." Kovalainen has also been encouraged by the form of the new McLaren MP4-23 in testing so far, but refused to predict how competitive the car will be. "I can already feel the difference to last year's Renault. There are no big tricks, it's just a little bit everywhere, but I can already feel it add up over a lap. "I feel positive about the car and the engineers seem to be encouraged, but it's too early to say how good it will be. You never know where you are in testing because you don't know what the other teams are doing." The Finn is also working hard to ensure he makes a better start to the season than he did as a rookie in 2007 - when he feared his job was on the line after a difficult first few races with Renault. "I wasn't prepared well enough physically, mentally, or technically last year, and I wasn't spending enough time with the team. "Straight away at McLaren we've made changes to my fitness programme to make me a better athlete, and I'm spending more time at the factory. I think I will be a better driver when I get to Melbourne than last year."