Fernando Alonso is hoping Renault can take another step forward at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai to close the gap to the front runners.
The double world champion had an eventful Malaysian Grand Prix, eventually losing out to the rain to classify eleventh, despite running as high as third after a lightening start in his KERS-fitted Renault.
Alonso knows the R29 is not yet capable of challenging for podiums but he his confident the team can recover from the mid-field – as they did last year when he went on to score back-to-back victories in the closing stages of the season.
Fernando, a pretty eventful Malaysian Grand Prix for you. Tell us about your race…
“I made an amazing start and was up to third from ninth after the first couple of corners, which showed the clear benefit of our KERS system. However, I was heavy with fuel and it was difficult to defend my position from the cars behind me. Then it started to rain and I went off the circuit before I could change to wet tyres. After that it was all about being on the right tyres at the right time, but it wasn t easy predicting how heavy the rain would be. It was definitely the right decision to stop the race as it would have been dangerous to try and continue in those conditions.”
You ve said the team needs to improve the car. Are you confident the team can do that?
“Absolutely. I believe in this team and we saw last year that they know how to fight back and find performance from the car. It s still very early days and everyone in the team is working hard to develop the R29 so that we can be more competitive in the next few races. I was disappointed not to score points in Malaysia as my aim is to score points at every race this season. Obviously it s difficult to change the car until we get back to Europe, but we have learnt a lot from the first two races and we certainly made progress in Malaysia. We need to take another step forward in Shanghai and hopefully score points.”
Are you looking forward to racing in Shanghai and what are your thoughts on the track?
“It s definitely a circuit that I enjoy and it s quite similar to Sepang with some quick corners, long straights and low-speed sections. You therefore have to find a compromise with the set-up to make sure you have enough downforce for the high-speed sections, but also good straight-line speed. I won the race there in 2005 when Renault also won the constructors championship so it s a track with good memories for the team. I also enjoy being in China and the fans are really enthusiastic about Formula 1.”