With only three races gone in 2005 it's rather premature to be talking about the championship, but it seems we may actually have a fight on our hands this season. After Ferrari's dominance in 2004, the sport needed to see some competition and ...
With only three races gone in 2005 it's rather premature to be talking about the championship, but it seems we may actually have a fight on our hands this season. After Ferrari's dominance in 2004, the sport needed to see some competition and Renault has so far thrown down the gauntlet to its rivals.
There is a faction that is already complaining about the possibility of Renault "doing a Ferrari" and winning everything in sight, but the majority of fans seem pleased to see a different team on the top step of the podium. Fernando Alonso has taken two consecutive victories and, inevitably, has quickly been labelled the hot tip to take the title.
"Alonso's looking very much like the heir apparent," said Bernie Ecclestone, according to Autosport. "There are a couple of others who are there or thereabouts, such as (Kimi) Raikkonen and (Juan Pablo) Montoya. But Alonso stands out. He's looking like an emerging superstar in the way that Michael Schumacher did."
However, although Ferrari has had a poor start to the season Alonso is wary of the Maranello squad. "We have less scope for improvement than our rivals," Alonso told SportBild. "Ferrari is going to make bigger strides than Renault this season. After years of Ferrari dominance it is difficult for me to imagine that it is going to change all of a sudden."
Certainly most people expected Ferrari to be at the front once again and the fact that the team has only scored 10 points in the first races is a surprise. But Ferrari had a difficult start to 2003 and came back to win the championships, so it's far too soon to be writing anyone off -- but the situation promises a good fight to come.
Alonso has a 24 point lead over Schumacher in the drivers' standings but that's not about to deter the reigning champion. "We mustn't be fooled by the first few races," said Michael. "The season is very long this time, there are sixteen races left, so a lot can still happen. As I said, I'm expecting a few wins in the F2005. I haven't given up the fight one bit."
Of course, the championship is about more than just Renault and Ferrari -- Toyota has bounced back with a vengeance, while McLaren and Williams are making their presence felt. There will be a lot of testing work before Imola, on April 24th and, while Renault looks strong, things can change very quickly.
"We've only done three races with no mechanical problems, no single mechanical problem in all three weekends," said Alonso after his most recent victory. "I know that it's normal that sometimes we will have problems, like (teammate Giancarlo Fischella) had (in Bahrain), and there will be a day that it will be my turn and we have to be prepared for that."