Q & A with Fernando Alonso

It has been a very tough season for Renault so far in 2009, but the team remains optimistic that it match its 2008 resurgence and at least end the year as the 'best of the rest'

Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Lead driver Fernando Alonso shares that optimism, as he told the media at the Nurburgring today, where he also addressed yet another round of rumours linking him to a Ferrari future.

Q. Pat Symonds said this week that he hopes the team can end the year third quickest. How confident are you that that can be achieved with this car?

Fernando Alonso: Yes, why not? Obviously it is not an easy thing to do, but we did last year as well. We have the potential to do it.

In fact, I think there are two teams - Brawn and Red Bull that are a little bit ahead of everybody. But there is this group of the third quickest time which is Toyota, Williams, and Ferrari. It is not clear which one is behind Brawn and Red Bull, so we try to fill in that group - and have the possibility at some circuits to be close to the top five or things like that. So we will see.

I think we will improve the car here, in this grand prix, with some aerodynamic improvements. Simulations are always hard to believe, because sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less, but we are hoping for two tenths - two and a half tenths - for this grand prix. Hopefully this can put us in a better place, first to score points because we missed the points in the last two grands prix. The first target is to come back in the points regularly, and after that with some more things coming on the car we will be a little bit closer to the top guys.

Q. How do you see your future with the ongoing FIA/FOTA war?

FA: Nothing really with the fight. I think we've talked for too many weeks already about it, and we spent too much time with all these political fights in the last two or three months. Obviously it didn't help the sport, and hopefully now it is finishing, and we can talk only about the sport and the final solution. Let's wait and see - but really we are concentrating on this grand prix now and the race. Outside the races, hopefully the less that happens will be better for everybody.

Q. What do you say about the latest Ferrari rumours?

FA: Nothing. They are only rumours. They have been happening in the last four or five years.

Q. You describe it as rumours but you have not answered the questions. Have you been talking to Ferrari, or do you have a Ferrari contract?

FA: No, and no.

Q. So there have been no talks at all with Ferrari then?

FA: I think it is too early in the season. We are not even at the halfway point of the season here. We are in the beginning of July and normally after the summer it is time to talk with people - if you are interested in something outside of your team. Obviously I am very happy with Renault. I think we will do a much better second half of the season than has been the first half, and we will see how is the evolution of the car and what we can do for next year. Obviously everything is open, but there is no hurry at the moment.

Q. Do you think the major mistake that Renault, Ferrari and McLaren made was in building a car for KERS and then trying to make it work without it?

FA: Yes, I think that is one of the things for sure. If the money the teams spent on KERS, and the time they spent on KERS, that was put into the wind tunnel then that would be much more productive in terms of the timed lap. That is one thing.

Secondly, I think this year, especially for the top four teams, it was the diffuser thing at the beginning of the season. If in Australia the double diffuser was illegal in a way, and they said that those teams could not run with the double diffuser, then we were in a very good position as we did all winter. There were some factors that changed completely how the season goes for the best teams, but this is F1. It is sport - sometimes you win, sometimes you cannot win. And next year, all these teams they will come back very strong. We will see again the top teams at the front of the grid. It is hard to imagine that the small teams can keep this level of performance for two years in a row.

Q. How important for your career going forward is it to get back in race winning machinery next year?

FA: It is important, but it is not the end of the world. I am missing winning - there are no doubts. I want to win and to have a performing car as soon as possible, but I also understand that this is sport and it happens everywhere - not only in motor racing. It happens in tennis, it happens in NBA, in football. Sometimes you go up and down in your career. In motorsport, it is even more important to have the car and the package.

We saw with Michael [Schumacher], maybe the greatest driver ever, two world championships in Benetton and then five years in Ferrari waiting because this is not only the human part, it is also the team and the package. So, I put myself in that part of my career, in stand by, and I am preparing myself very strong physically and mentally.

I am a better driver than I was two years ago, and I am really waiting for a competitive car and I will be better than ever. I learned things in these last two or three years. I am a better driver in some areas than I was in 2005 and 2006, where they were missing, so when I come back in a podium position I will be hopefully better and ready to deliver. After, it depends on luck and many things, but I will feel more prepared than before. I am in that part of my career now - to not give up, keep learning, keep improving because one day it will be my time.

Q. Imagine for a second you will share a team with Felipe Massa, do you think you could have the same problems you had with Lewis Hamilton?

FA: No, because Flavio [Briatore] will manage the situation!

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