Renault refuses to admit defeat

Engineering chief Pat Symonds says the team will still push to the maximum at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks' time despite rivals BAR all but securing second place in the constructors' championship at Suzuka last weekend

Renault refuses to admit defeat

Renault now lies 16 points behind BAR in the title chase and will have to come first and third with BAR finishing outside the points in order to overhaul the Brackley-based team.

"Looking at the championship situation, claiming second place is now a mathematical possibility rather than a probability, but that does not diminish our efforts in any way," Symonds said. "Our competitive spirit will not allow us to go to Brazil and give anything but our maximum. Both race drivers will be testing this week at Jerez and we will run new parts in Brazil that the conditions prevented us from evaluating in Japan.

"Our approach in Brazil will be very aggressive: we will finish the season with pride irrespective of the final championship result. The team will still be pushing hard through the weekend and we will be determined to end the 2004 season on a high note."

Renault had a disappointing outing in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso bringing his car home a lackluster fifth while Jacques Villeneuve failed to score a point in 10th place.

Given the circumstances Symonds believes the team did the best it could, but he admits that the weekend was particularly difficult for Villeneuve who suffered as a result of the loss in running time ahead of qualifying and the race.

"To be honest, the tone of our race was set in the pre-qualifying session, which did not go well and left us thirteenth and fifteenth," Symonds said. "Under the circumstances, though, I think we performed as well as we could have done. Fernando drove a very good, strong race to fifth, making up as many positions as any other driver in the race. However, after qualifying eleventh, he was left with a lot of work to do.

"As for Jacques, I think the conditions this weekend were among the worst possible for him. With limited experience in the car, he was deprived of any set-up time at all at this difficult circuit. The weekend's weather certainly did him no favours at all.

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