ALONSO AND MICHELIN ONE POINT FROM TITLE AFTER JAPANESE VICTORY Fernando Alonso scored a dramatic victory for Renault and Michelin in today& ...
ALONSO AND MICHELIN ONE POINT FROM TITLE AFTER JAPANESE VICTORY
Fernando Alonso scored a dramatic victory for Renault and Michelin in todays Japanese Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 2006 world championship campaign. The Spaniard worked his way up from fifth to second and grabbed the lead when arch-rival Michael Schumacher suffered an engine failure on the 37th of 53 laps. That left Alonso with a comfortable lead that he extended as the race drew towards its end. He will take the world title for a second straight season if he finishes in the top eight when the season concludes in Brazil on October 22.
Alonso wasnt the only Michelin success story at Suzuka: his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella finished third, which helped Renault extend its lead to nine points in the world championship for constructors, while Jenson Button (Honda, fourth), Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes, fifth) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber, eighth) also scored points.
Nick Shorrock, Michelin F1 director
First of all, this was a very satisfying victory for Renault and Michelin. Michelins prime and option tyres were extremely consistent in race conditions and, as Fernando Alonsos fastest lap underlines, they were fast as well as durable. Track temperatures dropped in the early stages of the race, which created a more comfortable operating window for our products, but we accept that we still have to investigate yesterdays puzzling absence of qualifying pace."
We were always confident, however, that we had a strong race tyre and the performances of Honda, McLaren and BMW Sauber helped underline the point. Todays victory hasnt settled anything but it has given Fernando and Renault a clear advantage as we prepare for the seasonal finale in Brazil. That will be Michelins F1 swansong, of course, and we are determined to bow out with a flourish. We have worked flat out all season and todays success wont change our approach one iota. We are acutely aware that there is no scope for complacency in F1.
Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 Team
Our Michelins were absolutely perfect There were all sorts of talk yesterday about our main rivals tyre advantage but, as Ive said before, qualifying is only a means to an end. Our Michelins were absolutely perfect in the race. The companys engineers have worked incredibly hard in recent weeks and this win was thoroughly deserved.