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Renault disappointment at Alonso's defection 20 Dec 2005

2005 FIA Awards Banquet Monaco, Friday 9th December 2005 Fernando Alonso and Flavio Briatore Photo source: Renault © Malcolm Griffiths/LAT

World Champion Fernando Alonso's decision to move to McLaren for the 2007 season has triggered a wave of speculation over the future of the Renault Formula One team. Team President Patrick Faure moved quickly to express the team's disappointment at the Spaniard's decision - while maintaining that Renault's competitive advantage will survive the loss of its brightest star.

"The Renault F1 Team and Fernando Alonso have enjoyed historic successes together since he joined the team in 2002," said Faure.

"I was disappointed to learn of Fernando’s decision but, by the end of 2006, he will have spent five seasons with Renault. Fresh challenges are essential for any sportsman, and he has taken the decision to pursue a new direction in his career. That is part of Formula One, and part of life."

"As everybody will now be aware, I have taken the decision to leave Renault after the 2006 season," said Alonso in an official statement, "I achieved my lifetime ambition with Renault this year, and for my career, I felt that it was time for a new challenge. That will be to try and win with another team."

Both Alonso and the team are determinedly arguing that their joint efforts to retain drivers' and constructors' Championships in 2006 will not be damaged by the approaching separation.

"At this point in time, though, I am concentrating on 2006," said Alonso. "Renault brought me into Formula One, brought me my first title, and I will be working to repeat that success next year. The signs so far are very positive on every level. I am confident the chassis will be quick, and the engine team are doing a fantastic job on the new V8. I am looking forward to a very successful 2006 season."

"Our priority at the moment is 2006," concurred Faure. "We aim to maintain our level of performance in next year with an aggressive technical programme and competitive approach. The teams at Viry and Enstone proved this year that they can do the job, and every member of the team is working 100% to produce a package that will allow both Fernando and Giancarlo Fisichella to defend the team’s position as World Champions. Our aim will be to win again in 2006."