Renault Seek to Extend Alonso's Contract

Renault hope to secure Formula One Championship leader Fernando Alonso's services for years to come, according to team boss Flavio Briatore

Renault Seek to Extend Alonso's Contract

"The negotiations with Renault for a contract extension have already started," Germany's Motorsport Aktuell magazine quoted the Italian as saying.

"If all sides are in agreement, it would be great to be able to announce the new contract at the Monaco Grand Prix (in May)," he added.

Renault won last year's Monaco Grand Prix, the glamour highlight of the calendar, with Italian Jarno Trulli. Alonso has been contracted to Renault since 2001 and has won the last two Grands Prix.

The 23-year-old Spaniard has a 10-point lead in the Championship over Trulli, now at Toyota. Ferrari's seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher has just two points after three races.

Briatore said other teams were also after Alonso but he would never join Ferrari while the German was there.

Schumacher has a contract with the Italian team until the end of 2006 but has shunned talk of retirement and hinted that he could keep going well beyond that.

"As long as Michael is there, Alonso will never drive for Ferrari," said Briatore.

"Ferrari isn't the only team that would like to have Fernando," he added. "For Renault there is an easy way to secure the services of Alonso - one only has to provide him with the most competitive car."

Briatore, who ran the Benetton team when Schumacher won his first two titles in 1994 and 1995, said Alonso had the mental strength to be champion.

"I can't see any weaknesses with him," he said. "He keeps high in his rhythm during the races. He knows his own limits and those of his car and never exceeds them."

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