Renault up for the fight

Fernando Alonso and Jacques Villeneuve are more motivated than ever to knock BAR-Honda of its second-placed perch at the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend

Renault up for the fight

Renault is currently nine points behind its arch rival BAR in the championship standing, but the team is quick to point out that the final two races of the season in Japan and Brazil take place on circuits that should suit the R24 more than most.

"I think we can be quick at the last two tracks," Alonso said. "We have improved the car a lot this season and it is much more competitive and constant than it was earlier in the year. We need to find a good tyre, get it working well and put all the pieces together to have a strong weekend. We know it will be a very competitive race, but personally, I have more motivation than ever to beat BAR at one of their home races."

Renault's technical director on the chassis side, Bob Bell, agreed that the final two races are good battlegrounds for the team, but admitted that the fight with BAR would be a tight one.

"I think we will be much more competitive at the final two races than we proved to be in Shanghai," he said. "We are not giving up. BAR are a strong team, very motivated, and it will be a hard act to beat them. We are in a tight fight, but nobody here is giving up. If we manage to beat BAR, they will certainly be close behind us, so we need to ensure we score as many points as possible in the next races.

"If they make any slip-ups, we will be ready to pounce. The entire Renault team is pushing very hard to reclaim second place and our motivation to do so is second to none. We are up for the fight."

Second driver Jacques Villeneuve, who replaced Jarno Trulli at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend, had a disappointing outing, but the French-Canadian is determined to turn things around in Japan.

"I know the circuit well and whereas I was still learning about the car in China, we will be able to work on the set-ups right from the beginning of practice in Japan," he said. "In terms of performance, the first thing I need to do is score the points that I missed out on in China. At Suzuka though, you have a lot of delicate moments around the lap when the car has lots of downforce at high speed, and you are turning and braking at the same time. If we can get the handling right, then I am sure we can score points: the team and myself are still very motivated to get second place."

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