Alonso: Renault Still Behind Schedule

Although admitting he is more confident about his car's capabilities this season as compared to 2008, double world champion Fernando Alonso insisted the Renault R29 is yet to have the necessary performance to challenge for the Top 6 in Australia. The Spaniard revealed Renault are at least two and a half months behind BMW Sauber in terms of car's development, and the latest lap times in testing show some more teams getting the better grip on their 2009 challengers.

After performing poorly during the initial group test at Portimao, Renault upped their on-track performances at Jerez and later settled for some mid-pack lap times in Barcelona (earlier this week). However, with the good pace shown by Brawn GP, Toyota and Ferrari – not to mention BMW Sauber – during the latest testings, Renault are certainly expecting some tough competition for the Australian podium.

“First we were really bad in Portimao and then we were the best in Jerez, but it is neither one or the other,” said Alonso during the Barcelona testing this week, according to GMM news agency.

“To be in the first six (in Australia) is almost an impossible task. Some of those (lap) times are unattainable at the moment for us, with or without fuel. They are a step ahead of us. But we are not so far away, some tenths, and if our rate of evolution is as good as it was last year, we can have good hopes.”

“Even though we have done good preparations, I expect that some other teams have a small lead, for example BMW who are about two and a half months ahead of us. Some teams are showing incredible speed, also like Toyota and Brawn. And on Tuesday we could not have had the times of the Ferrari, the same today (Wednesday) probably with the Brawn,” added Alonso.

However, he admitted he will not begin the new season as a tourist – as it happened last year – but with optimistic thoughts on becoming a front-runner through the 2009 campaign.

“We are going well. Last year I thought I was just going to be a tourist – seeing the tracks and the cities and nothing much else, so I am more optimistic this time,” concluded the Spaniard.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories