Alonso begins 2005 preparations

Renault ace Fernando Alonso has admitted that he is 'excited' about the latest car being produced by his team after paying a visit to its Enstone factory this week ahead of his first test of the winter after Christmas

Alonso begins 2005 preparations

The Spaniard, who has been on holiday since the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix, spent some time getting up to speed with the developments taking place at the team as he had his seat fitting for the R25.

"I am excited about the car having seen it in the wind-tunnel," said Alonso. "I am confident it will be another competitive car and the team is working hard to reduce the effects of the regulations changes.

"The signs at Viry [Renault's engine base] are positive as well, and the engine is giving good results on the dyno."

Although Alonso failed to score a race victory in 2004, with team-mate Jarno Trulli grabbing his maiden win in the Monaco Grand Prix, he claims that he has no regrets with the way the campaign turned out - and firmly believes it was a much stronger season than his first year with Renault in 2003.

"I did not get a race win, but as a driver, I matured: I finished on the podium four times, and lost some fantastic opportunities with reliability problems where I could have had at least three more podiums," he explained.

"But the whole team moved up another level from 2003 and the same was true for me. We scored more points, finished higher in the championship and I had the feeling I had put in a more complete season. The last few races were difficult, because our competitors seemed to pick up speed and we didn't, but the car was still good enough to fight near the podium.

"The team started working for 2005 very early, and even if we lost some speed at the end of the year, we expect the choices to pay off next season."

Alonso will begin testing after Christmas in an interim R24 before the definitive 2005 car hits the tracks for the first time in January.

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