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F1 NEWS 

Renault thankful to Fisichella, Kovalainen

Renault's managing director Flavio Briatore has paid tribute to Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen, after confirming they will not continue with the team in 2008.

Renault announced on Monday that Fernando Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet will race for the French squad in 2008, replacing Italian Fisichella and Finn Kovalainen.

Kovalainen has been linked with a move to Toyota or McLaren, while Fisichella tested for Force India as he aims to secure a drive for next year.

Briatore wished both drivers the best for the future following their exit from Renault, and praised them for their efforts during the troubled 2007 season.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Giancarlo and Heikki for their hard work throughout a long and difficult year," said Briatore.

"We expected to have a car capable of winning races, but that didn't prove the case. Rather than let their heads drop, both drivers worked even harder to turn the situation around.

"Giancarlo's experience was a crucial factor in helping us improve our performance, and he leaves the team after making a vital contribution to our two championship years in 2005 and 2006. We thank him for making these special moments possible for the team, and wish him well for the future.

"Heikki's rookie season included some challenges, but he coped with all of them and came out a better and stronger driver. He has shown everybody in F1 that he is a fast, intelligent and engaging driver, who is definitely capable of winning races in the future.

"We are proud to have given him his start in Formula One, and wish him the very best for what is sure to be an outstanding career."

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