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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 13:44 UK

Alonso maintains title ambitions

Fernando Alonso started the Chinese Grand Prix behind Sebastian Vettel and the safety car
Alonso (left) said the safety car cost him a chance of victory in China

Fernando Alonso believes he can still win this year's world championship despite taking just four points from the first three F1 races of the season.

The Renault driver, who won the title in 2005 and 2006, finished fifth in the opening race in Australia and has been out of the points in the last two.

But he said: "It's still an early stage in the year and already the team has made incredible progress.

"It gives me the belief that we can still fight for the championship."

Alonso qualified on the front row of the grid for last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix after Renault fitted a new diffuser to his car.

But the 27-year-old was hampered by the wet weather which caused the race to be started behind the safety car.

It's important we score as many points as possible at each race so we can be in the fight at the end of the season.

Fernando Alonso

"The new parts we added to the car gave us a big step forward and the team did a great job to get them to China and fitted on the car in time for qualifying," said Alonso.

"To qualify on the front row showed the progress we've made and it was a boost for the whole team.

"Unfortunately I started the race light on fuel and I made my first stop under the safety car, which pretty much ended my race as I went from the front row to the back of the pack.

"It was just one of those days when the decisions we took didn't go our way."

But Alonso is confident of returning to the points in Bahrain, where he won in his world championship winning years.


"I have some good memories of my wins there," he said.

"It's one of the most demanding circuits on the brakes, but hopefully we can repeat the performance we showed in China so that we can reach Q3 and fight for points in the race.

"At this stage it's important we score as many points as possible at each race so we can be in the fight at the end of the season."

Alonso's Renault team-mate, Nelson Piquet, will also have the new diffuser fitted in time for the race in Bahrain.

However, not all teams are managing to bring in the new piece of technology as quickly.

Red Bull, who won their first ever race in China, will not have a double diffuser attached to their car before Monaco, which follows the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.

The team's chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, said: "Given the design of RB5, it's not the easiest task getting it to fit the car and while we work on this one item, we also need to keep working on the general development of the car, to ensure we don't fall behind in other areas.

"The unique feature of the Red Bull cars is the pull-rod rear suspension, which is a good solution when you don't have a double diffuser.

"But getting it to work with the diffuser will be more difficult."

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see also
Vettel seals first Red Bull win
19 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Focused Alonso sets sights on title
20 Jan 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso upbeat over Renault hopes
19 Jan 09 |  Formula 1
Brundle on Alonso
23 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Formula 1 teams unveil 2009 cars
09 Feb 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso opts to stay with Renault
05 Nov 08 |  Formula 1
Alonso takes title as Massa wins
22 Oct 06 |  Formula 1
Fernando Alonso
04 Mar 09 |  Drivers & Teams

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