Alonso still smiling despite Renault engine failure 27 Apr 2008
Renaults Fernando Alonso vowed to leave his home race in Barcelona with a spring in his step, despite exiting the Spanish Grand Prix early. Alonso, who was on course to score points before an engine failure forced him to retire, has been buoyed by a renewed sense of confidence in the French teams R28.
This weekend has been both sweet and sour, said the Spaniard. The car was very competitive and we were up there with the Ferraris and the BMWs, which is a good first step. I think now we should hopefully start enjoying races again and racing closer to the front. Although I am disappointed not to finish, it was a nice surprise to see that we are more competitive than we thought we would be.
After qualifying second on the grid on Saturday, Alonso had been upbeat he could perform strongly in front of his home crowd. And although he started the race with less fuel than the chasing McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica, thus necessitating an early stop, he was on course for a top-five finish before his engine gave way on lap 32.
A fifth place looked easy today, explained Renault's executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds. We don't yet know the cause of the engine failure on Fernando's car, but in spite of the disappointment of the final result, we take encouragement that our relative performance has moved up. There is still a lot to do, and we will continue to work hard to improve the car.
Alonsos team mate Nelson Piquet was also short of luck in Barcelona. Piquet retired on lap seven following a collision with the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Bourdais. The double DNF means the French team drop to seventh in the constructors standings with six points to sixth-placed Red Bulls eight.