So far, the Renault team have publicly stated how happy they are with their new F1 car and how they believe it will help the team return to winning ways. However, driver Fernando Alonso is not so sure and believes the team still trail McLaren and Ferrari and will need to find around a second before they can truly start to challenge at the front of the pack.
“At the moment, we need to close the gap to the top teams, McLaren and Ferrari, because we are a little bit too far behind them,â€ Alonso began. “At the moment there is not any possibility to fight for wins or things like that, so that is the first priority of this winter tests and the first race.
“To close the gap, and to be behind them two or three tenths is not such a bit problem, but to be one second or eight tenths like we are at the moment is a little bit too much.
“Renault last year was not competitive enough and that is the thing that we must change for this year the team is very focused on changing this and they work very hard on this new car to sort out the problems they had last year and I am here to help and to give them my experience to them.
“All together, we hope to work in the same direction and get Renault back in the fight. It won t be easy because all the other teams improve as well and if Renault were one second behind last year, we need to recover that.
“How? We need to work longer than the others, but that is not possible because there is one month to the first race and we cannot work longer than the others. So we need to work better. We will see what we can do we need to be clever and we need to do the right things to the car to improve it. That is the target for this February’s testing.”
Alonso left Renault at the end of the 2006 season and spent a single season at McLaren. After a troubled season with the British team, Alonso decided to return to the team who helped him towards two world championships. Despite a rocky year with McLaren, Alonso has said he has no regrets about his decision to leave Renault.
“Last year Renault was struggling to get into Q3 and McLaren was fighting for the title. So I had the opportunity to fight for the championship last year and I don’t regret anything. I was lucky to be for the third consecutive time fighting for the title, and that is what a driver wants. It was a difficult season, but I was lucky also.”