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 well 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 its 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 BARs 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. Its 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 werent in the race at Monza, we really werent, and we also messed up with the refuelling rigs so that after the first stint I was carrying too much fuel. Well 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 hes been very consistent in 2005. Its 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.