The Australian Grand Prix will kick off the 2005 season in just a few days time and nobody really knows what to expect with the new regulations. Fernando Alonso admits that Albert Park is perhaps not a track that's ideal for Renault but he expects...
The Australian Grand Prix will kick off the 2005 season in just a few days time and nobody really knows what to expect with the new regulations. Fernando Alonso admits that Albert Park is perhaps not a track that's ideal for Renault but he expects the R25 to be competitive all the same.
"I don't think Melbourne is a perfect circuit for us," he said. "Other tracks will suit our car better, but looking at the winter testing times, I hope we will be very competitive. The secret for the weekend will be to avoid problems, because nobody can afford to lose track time at the first race of the year."
"With a new car, and on a circuit that we only visit once a season, you need to do as many laps as possible to work on the set-up and get used to the track. So our main priority will be for the weekend to run smoothly, so we can do a maximum number of laps."
As for the competition, Alonso believes the scarlet cars will once again be the benchmark. "In terms of competitiveness, I expect Ferrari to be the number one team still, and McLaren have looked very strong during the winter," he commented. "I think those two teams will be our biggest rivals.
The Spaniard's teammate this season is Giancarlo Fisichella, who last drove for Renault in its previous incarnation as Benetton. Fisichella conceded that Albert Park is not one of his favourite tracks but he's aiming to challenge for victory this weekend.
"We have a strong package, the R25 has done lots of miles over the winter and the set-up is getting better and better," said Fisichella. "I am confident in the car, and pleased with our level of performance. In testing, we have almost always been among the quickest teams, so we hope that it can translate to race conditions."
Technical director Bob Bell also thinks Ferrari and McLaren will be Renault's main rivals but knows nothing is certain. "Experience has taught everybody that winter testing times are not reliable indicators, so we must wait and see what Melbourne brings," Bell commented.