Alonso: We cannot afford to be mid-pack

REN2009012033260 PVFernando Alonso has said that his Renault team ”cannot afford” to be where they finished Friday practice sessions, firmly mired in the mid-field.

The two-time world champion finished 10th and 12th in the practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix today, and spoke to reporters afterwards.

”We cannot afford to start the race in the middle of the pack if we want to score some good points,” the Spaniard is quoted as saying by Reuters.

“Expectations for qualifying (on Saturday) are more or less the same and we will try to start the race in the top six or eight, otherwise we cannot be too happy.”

The Renault R29 has reportedly been suffering from handling problems but the Oviedo-born driver professed himself baffled by finding himself so down the order.

“Pace-wise it’s difficult to understand. Obviously it’s not the perfect position to find for podiums, for wins etc.”

Team-mate Nelson Piquet Jnr was equally unspectacular, finishing the two sessions in 19th and 18th positions respectively. This performance was despite his having completed 60 laps in total over the two sessions.

True overall pace can only start to be gauged during qualifying tomorrow, however.