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Alonso ready to retaliate 04 Aug 2006

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault is interviewed by the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Budapest, Hungary, 3 August 2006

Fernando Alonso is intent on winning this weekend on the circuit on which he scored his first victory three years ago. And yesterday he played down the role of Renault’s controversial mass dampers while hitting the ball squarely into Michelin’s court in discussing the battle with Ferrari and Bridgestone.

“The mass damper did not affect anything at Hockenheim in the race,” said the world champion. “The Renault engineers are working on it, whether we will use it here, and still talking and it will be their decision and it won’t change anything. When you are driving, sometimes you notice it and sometimes you don’t, depending on the circuit.

“We saw very clearly (at Hockenheim) that we had a lot of rear problems with tyres that we didn’t expect. We had some big blisters - and, you know, you can put as many mass dampers as you want but the rear blisters will be there anyway. So we did probably a bad compromise with rear end of the car and we had that mistake and it was unexpected. So we know what we can do for that and for here it will be much better.”

The R26 featured a revised rear suspension, and the team have reverted to the old set-up here to cure the blistering problem. With the wet weather so far, that won’t be a problem anyway.

Alonso continued, when asked about Renault’s capacity to improve their car to Ferrari’s level, and whether the rest of the championship depends only on the tyres: “I think mainly only on the tyres. I think Ferrari and Renault are at the maximum of the capacity of the car. I think car development has been constant all year and it’s difficult to get something more from them. It can be a tenth or something like that but no more than that. I think the tyres are making a big difference every weekend and I think we are probably in Michelin’s hands.

“Every race is different and we saw in Canada we won the race and one week later in Indianapolis we were one second off so things change very quickly in Formula One. So I hope that things change that quickly again compared to last. We’ll see what happens. We have full confidence in the car again and it should be much better and hopefully we are back in the fight.

“I only consider the victory at the end of the weekend and it is all we have to do and we are all optimistic and confident in ourselves so I think we can do it this time. I think we will fight, it will be close but I think the next three races especially will be difficult for us. We will have no time to react, from Hockenheim, this race we will be struggling here as well, also in Turkey because there is no testing. But after that, I think maybe Monza will be a good circuit for Ferrari, it’s high speed, but I’m really confident for the last three races. We have time to react, we have the capacity so I put my money on me.”