Alonso: New R25 will surprise

Renault's new 2005 challenger is set to surprise some of the sport's big names according to the French manufacturer's star driver Fernando Alonso

Alonso: New R25 will surprise

The Spaniard, who tested the car for three days at Valencia in Spain last week, believes the Bob Bell-designed machine has overcome some of the weaknesses that prevented him winning a race in 2004.

Speaking at the launch in Monaco Alonso said: "The first test is always difficult for a new car, but we had no problems and from the first laps I felt confident. I'm convinced it will be fantastic and will surprise more than one person."

But despite Alonso's optimism about the R25, and predictions from management that the outfit will be challenging for the championship this season, Alonso still believes it will be a tall order to beat pre-season favourites Ferrari.

"Even if we improve a lot by the start of the season we don't know how much better their car is. Ferrari is still the team to beat and we will have to have everything perfect if we are going to beat them."

Alonso is well aware that the pressure is on him to deliver this season after a fairly disappointing 2004. Having been hailed as one of Michael Schumacher's chief rivals during a spectacular first season with Renault in 2003, his form suffered last season thanks to the tricky R24. And with the arrival of a fired up Giancarlo Fisichella, Alonso is well aware that there will be no excuses this year.

"I'm 23 and hopefully this won't be my last season in F1, but for sure it's an important year for me. As a team we have to decide if we were just going to go for fourth or fifth in the championship or first and second and now we are looking to fight for the title."

Alonso has admitted that the possibility of a title challenge in 2005 is more enticing because it would give him the satisfaction of having beaten Michael Schumacher.

"For a driver to win the title against Michael is ten times more important, but it's the same for the other 19 drivers on the grid. We don't know when his last season will be."

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