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Alonso weathers the media storm 06 Oct 2006

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault in the FIA Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, 5 October 2006

While Michael Schumacher quietly went about his business with his usual smile yesterday, his world championship rival Fernando Alonso seemed tired and drawn as he faced a barrage of media questions in the wake of remarks he was alleged to have made post-Shanghai about the support he is getting from his Renault team as he bids for his second drivers' title.

"It is not a problem at all with anybody,” he said, denying claims that he had been critical. “What I felt [in China] was that maybe I had a problem with the car, which was a specific problem for nine or 10 laps, and I felt alone, for sure.

"I was first and my team mate was second, but then they (Giancarlo Fisichella and Michael Schumacher) caught up with me and then they were gone. They came to me, they overtook me, and they were gone. After I recovered the pace, they were too far ahead.

"For sure, it is like you are in the Tour de France, in the mountains, and you have a puncture, and your team and your rival go uphill and don't stop. That was a little bit difficult to understand."

While also denying that he had suggested some factions in Renault would be unhappy to see him take the coveted number one to McLaren in 2007, he did suggest that the constructors’ world championship had greater importance for the French manufacturer than the drivers’.

"All the team and all the people are really focused for the championship,” he insisted. The atmosphere in the team is super. Every single person in the team is just focused on the championship. But for sure for the team the constructors’ title is more important the drivers’"

On the subject of the brief fight he had with Fisichella in China as he struggled to bring his new front tyres to their best, the Spaniard was more outspoken, even though he admitted that he was losing four seconds a lap.

"I fought Fisichella in the last corner, I overtook him once, he overtook me and I overtook him again,” he said. “These risky moments, with three races to go in the championship, and with your team mate, is not good enough.

"For sure the team is giving us a fantastic car, but for sure in some occasions in a different view or a different approach I have felt a little alone. I had difficult moments in Indy, when I was not competitive, and in China I was off the pace for about 10 laps and losing four seconds a lap. In these two moments, my opinion is that with the team maybe I should have had more help."

Help did come yesterday, in the form of Honda’s Jenson Button, who censured one question with the comment, “You’re not doing anything for the guy’s confidence, he is fighting for the world championship!”

The Briton is one of the few here who would like a wet race. “In the dry we don’t yet have a winning car, but if it rains here anything is possible, and that could be very good for us,” he said.