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Fisichella backs Renault to recover form 24 Apr 2007

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 7 April 2007

Giancarlo Fisichella believes Renault have what it takes to climb back up the grid this season, despite their current poor form. Fisichella, who is yet to finish higher than fifth this year, is certain the French team will recover in time to make an impression on frontrunners McLaren, Ferrari and BMW Sauber.

“This is a team that is used to winning races, and we are determined to improve the situation,” said Fisichella in an interview with Renault’s press office. “It is also a team of world champions, that has shown they have what it takes to be the very best during the last two years, so I know we have the strength in depth to turn things around.”

With the departure of world champion Fernando Alonso and the arrival of rookie Heikki Kovalainen, Fisichella had hoped to lead the French team's title defence this season. The reality, however, has been much different. Although he has scored eight of the team’s current haul of nine points, the Italian can’t help feeling frustrated with the team’s 2007 car, which lacks the pace of its world championship-winning predecessor, the R26.

“The car is clearly not performing how we had hoped, so that makes it disappointing because I came into this season believing I had my best chance yet to fight for the title,” explained the 34 year-old. “We can feel that the car lacks grip, and is inconsistent to drive, but it is then down to the engineers to understand what is causing the problems - and how to solve them.”

Fisichella, who has been with Renault since 2005, believes he has an important part to play in maintaining the team's focus and is determined to stay positive.

“I have been in this situation before in my career, and the driver can really make a difference motivating the team,” he said. “I cannot find the technical solution instead of the engineers, but it is important to lead the team with a good example. They know that when I go out on track, I am pushing the car to the limit and getting everything out of the package; and I know that behind the scenes, everybody from the mechanics to directors are working 100 percent to improve the car.”

Renault are currently fourth in the constructors’ standing, 35 points adrift of McLaren, who take up the top spot, and nine points behind BMW Sauber in third.