Preview: Renault Out to Stop McLaren

Fernando Alonso believes Renault can do the double and add the Formula One constructors' title to his drivers' crown

Preview: Renault Out to Stop McLaren

McLaren will take the title in Japan on Sunday if they can repeat last month's Brazilian Grand Prix one-two and rivals Renault have a rare nightmare and score just one point at the Suzuka circuit.

Alonso's team lag McLaren by two points before the season's penultimate race and are fighting to keep the battle going to the Chinese finale in Shanghai on October 16.

The 24-year-old, who became the sport's youngest champion in Sao Paulo, is confident that Renault can turn the situation around.

"I expect there will be a lot of attention, a lot of questions, a lot of cameras," said the shy Spaniard of the reception that awaits him at the southern Japanese circuit.

"But when I get in the car, then I will be working like normal. We have a race to do, and another championship to win.

"I believe the truth is that we have been the best in this 2005 season, and I will be working at full power now, with (Italian team mate Giancarlo Fisichella) to win the constructors' title too. I think we can do it."

Reliability will be the key and any retirements at Suzuka will carry a heavy price.

The odds favour Mercedes-powered McLaren, with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and Finland's Kimi Raikkonen enjoying the best qualifying slots after racking up their fifth win in a row in Brazil.

The team last won the constructors' title in 1998, that success sealed at Suzuka when Raikkonen's compatriot Mika Hakkinen also took the drivers' crown.

Good Battle

Alonso's consistency has been remarkable, with seven podium finishes from the last eight races, but Raikkonen has also won six times this year.

"We will give it our all to win the Constructors' World Championship by aiming to score the best possible results in Japan and China, and I think we have the package to achieve this," Raikkonen said in a team preview.

"Juan Pablo and I had a good battle in Brazil and I am looking forward to continuing it this weekend. The drivers' title fight is over for this year and now we want to win the constructors'."

Suzuka has been a Ferrari track in recent years, with seven times champion Michael Schumacher and Brazilianteam mate Rubens Barrichello winning every race since 1999 between them.

That streak, in tyre partner Bridgestone's home race, looks set to end with the Italian team struggling all season after a dominant 2004.

The crowd favourite will be Takuma Sato, appearing in his last home race for BAR before Barrichello partners Briton Jenson Button there next year.

The race is also the 100th with BAR for Honda, who announced this week that they were taking complete control of the team after buying the 55 percent stake held by founders British American Tobacco.

"It goes without saying that this is a big weekend for everyone," said Honda engineering director Shuhei Nakamoto.

"We are all determined to put on a good show for all our fans in Japan."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Renault F1 Team , McLaren
Author Alan Baldwin
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