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Renault taking nothing for granted 09 Sep 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault (Right).
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 8 September 2005 (L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) BAR and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault in the FIA Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 8 September 2005 Renault dragon livery on the bodywork.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 8 September 2005 (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren in the FIA Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 8 September 2005

Alonso hoping BAR won't prove the joker in the pack

The one thing everybody is resolutely avoiding at Renault this weekend is overtly thinking about the World Championship.

“I am not thinking about it at all,” declared Fernando Alonso. “To me this is just another race, and if I do well, then fine. Last year I was leading the race when I retired, and I have won here in Formula 3000, so I am feeling quite confident. But I am not thinking about the championship, just about doing the best that I can. Then we’ll see what happens.”

If he scores three points more than arch-rival Kimi Raikkonen he can all but wrap things up before the final three races. If he scores more than three it’s over, and at 24 he will replace Emerson Fittipaldi (25 in 1972) as the youngest-ever champion.

One man who would quite like to frustrate that ambition, besides Raikkonen, is Jenson Button. The Englishman is putting aside his worries about contractual matters and is bouncing back from BAR’s disappointing form at Monza.

“Definitely I am more optimistic here,” he said yesterday. “The aero package we have here is similar to the one we ran in the North American races and it should work well here because it was very good there. We also have an updated engine, so I think we can be strong. I qualified third here in 2000 and finished fifth, and I love the circuit. It’s very demanding and mentally very tough, and not just at Eau Rouge. It flows everywhere and every corner is a challenge. Last year we went reasonably well until that problem at the end of the straight. We just weren’t in the race at Monza, we really weren’t, and we also messed up with the refuelling rigs so that after the first stint I was carrying too much fuel. We’ll be better here.

“I think that Fernando can afford to be cautious, whereas Kimi really has to go for it. Fernando is a good driver and he’s been very consistent in 2005. It’s been great to see somebody other than Michael fighting for the championship and I just wish it was me. I know Fernando would like to wrap things up here this weekend, but I just hope we can be in a position here to stop him doing that!”

Raikkonen will certainly be hoping so.