Briatore downbeat on title hopes

Renault boss Flavio Briatore has admitted that it is difficult for his team to retain any optimism about beating BAR to second place in the constructors' championship after an ultra-disappointing Japanese Grand Prix

Briatore downbeat on title hopes

As rival BAR was boosted with Jenson Button and Takuma Sato taking third and fourth place, Briatore watched Alonso come home a lowly fifth and Jacques Villeneuve again fail to finish inside the points as he took 10th.

The result leaves Renault needing to finish first and third in the season closing Brazilian Grand Prix, with BAR not scoring at all, to take the runners-up position in the constructors' title chase.

Briatore is realistic about his team's ambitions - although he has not given up completely on the possibility of a shock result at Interlagos.

"Overall, this was a disappointing result after a difficult weekend for everybody," he said. "I think Fernando did the maximum today but the car was not quick enough to allow him to fight the cars in front. Looking to Brazil, it is hard to remain hopeful about our championship chances but as long as we have a possibility of re-gaining second position, then we will be motivated to try and seize it."

Alonso's two-stopping strategy allowed him to move up from 11th on the grid to finish fifth, while Villeneuve struggled all afternoon with massive understeer - probably caused by the lack of set-up time the team had with the car over the weekend.

The former world champion said: "When the race started, we quickly found that the set-up was not ideal for the dry conditions. The car was understeering a lot, so we added front downforce at both pit-stops, but I could not increase my pace in the final stint. It's a disappointing result, especially as our main rivals scored points with both cars this afternoon."

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