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Q & A with Fernando Alonso 29 Aug 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 20 August 2005

The 2005 title favourite on his prospects for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix and his chances of becoming the new world champion.

Q: McLaren were very competitive in Turkey - is that a worry for you?
Fernando Alonso:
McLaren are very quick, there's no doubt, but Monza is a completely different circuit to any other, so we approach it feeling confident. We have had good straightline speed all year, and that is one of the things you need there. So it could be a good race for us.

Q: What is it like to drive at Monza?
FA:
It is a legendary circuit, with an important place in the history of Formula 1, so to win there would be something special. You have the highest average speed in the championship, so it is a good feeling for the driver - I like the combination of speed and risk.

Q: How do you need to adapt the car?
FA:
You need a very specific set-up there. The team builds new parts only for this race, because it is very strange from an aero point of view with very low downforce, and you need good grip in the corners from the mechanical balance and the tyres. Also, the tyres can get cold on the straights, which makes it hard to have good grip in the corners, but Michelin understand the challenge, and they have been fantastic so far this year.

Q: What is your view on the championship position?
FA:
It is the same as before Turkey - as long as we finish the races, we are OK. If we are competitive and can get on the podium, then it will be hard to lose my advantage. The advantage we have is that I can still afford some bad races and not lose the lead. McLaren have pressure to be perfect until China, and if they are not, we will be there to punish them.

With five races to go, Alonso has a 24-point advantage over Kimi Raikkonen. Renault lead McLaren by just nine in the constructors' championship.