Alonso dreams of Renault renaissance

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Fernando Alonso has shrugged off his brief and disappointing flirtation with McLaren confident that his return to Renault will restore his title credential

Updated: February 02, 2008 10:13 IST
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Former world champion Fernando Alonso has shrugged off his brief and disappointing flirtation with McLaren confident that his return to Renault will restore his title credentials.

The Spaniard has been welcomed back by the French team, with whom he won back-to-back Formula One world championships in 2005 and 2006, after a disastrous time with McLaren, where he was upstaged by Lewis Hamilton.

But the 26-year-old insists he is not bitter about his experiences in a tortuous year which saw him relinquish his title to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen while his team was kicked out of the contstructors championship for their part in the F1 'spying' row.

"Some people have suggested that I have unfinished business from 2007, but that's not the way I look at it," said Alonso as Renault launched their F1 R28 car for the 2008 season on Thursday.

"I'm preparing for this season the same way I always have done by concentrating on my job. Our work during the winter will dictate whether or not we are competitive at the start of the championship, and that is my focus.

"Once we start racing, I will try and get the maximum out of the car, and to work with the engineers to improve. That has always been my approach, and will continue to be."

"First and foremost, I am a racer, and I obviously want to win. I will do my maximum to make that happen, and I know that is what is expected from me."

Alonso will have another tyro beside him in 2008 in the shape of Brazil's Nelson Piquet junior, the son of the 1981, 1983 and 1987 world champion, who is four years his junior.

"I have never had a proper team-mate in my career; nobody I could compare myself to in order to improve," said Piquet, who has stepped up from test driver.

"I know that I have a lot to learn from Fernando because he has a lot of F1 experience, he knows the circuits, and he has won two titles. He is the perfect benchmark."

Team principal Flavio Briatore, who has described the 2007 season as a disaster, believes the two drivers will complement each other and does not anticipate the personality clashes that dogged Alonso and Hamilton at McLaren.

"We have two drivers who complement one another. We know Fernando very well and it's a real pleasure to have him back," said Briatore.

"He is very motivated and is a big plus for our team. On the other side a young driver who is very intelligent, who is here to learn. Nelsinho is the future of our team."

Renault has been involved in the new car's development since last August and the R28 features new front suspension and changes to the design of the nose.

"There have been a lot of changes compared to 2007," said Briatore.

"We have worked each day to be competitive for the first race in Australia (March 16). This season I think we have increased by 50 percent our chances of appearing regularly on the podium."

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