Symonds Defends Fisichella's Performance

Giancarlo Fisichella is driving as well as ever and cannot be blamed for his three retirements in a row this season, according to Renault engineering head Pat Symonds

Symonds Defends Fisichella's Performance

"In 2005, we have had eight starts and recorded three retirements, all of them down to reliability issues, whether directly or indirectly," he said on Renault's Formula One website.

"Giancarlo is doing a fine job and driving as well as ever, but the simple fact is that we need two cars in the points if we are to challenge throughout the season in the Constructors' Championship."

Italian Fisichella won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix but has not finished the last three, all won by his Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso.

The team were still analysing the cause of Fisichella's San Marino Grand Prix retirement, with the Roman leaving the track on lap six, but suspected a mechanical failure at the rear of the car.

Renault lead the Championship with 46 points to Toyota's 27. Alonso has scored 36, twice as many as second placed Italian Jarno Trulli.

Ferrari are fourth with 18 points but seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher showed they were on the road to recovery at Imola by finishing a close second after lapping up to two seconds faster than rivals.

"I think they had a combination of car and tyres that was better suited to that track, in those conditions, on that day," said Symonds.

"But that only means their package was better at that circuit. It does not automatically follow they will have the same advantage in Spain."

The Spanish Grand Prix is next on May 8.

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