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Alonso Expects Competitive Car at Sepang

Fernando Alonso believes Malaysia will show the true pace of his Renault R29 this year. Despite finishing 6th in the Australian Grand Prix (promoted to 5th following Trulli's 25-second penalty) the Spaniard admitted the R29 did not show the expected level of performance at Melbourne. Neither Alonso nor Piquet managed to qualify into the Q3 on Saturday, showing that the Enstone-based team still has some catching up to do to the other top teams.

The two-time world champion argued that, while benefiting from a quite unique track and being the first round of the season, the Aussie GP cannot provide a whole lot of info on where exactly Renault stands at this moment. However, following the more technical Malaysian GP, he'll be able to figure out the true level of performance of the R29.

“The (Australian) circuit is very unique making it hard to draw conclusions. I believe that we are going to be more competitive (at Sepang) but anyway it will give us a better idea of where we are. It is a very demanding circuit for cars, the same with Shanghai, where we will really see who is fast and if we have a good car,” Alonso was quoted as saying to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport.

He also made it very clear that, unless qualifying to Q3 this Saturday, the car will give Renault a lot of headaches for the rest of the season.

“We have to have a bit more patience. In Malaysia if we don't go into the Q3 (qualifying phase) it will mean that we are probably not fast enough and we are going to have a difficult year,” argued the 27-year old ace.

Alonso will reportedly be ready to drive a revised Renault R29 from as early as China (featuring a new rear diffuser, similar to Brawn GP's) should FIA decide to clear the different diffuser designs shown by Brawn GP, Williams F1 and Toyota. With the new arrangements, the R29 will reportedly gain about 15% in downforce, leading to improved stability and higher cornering speeds.
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