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Alonso can control his fate
Alan Baldwin | September 12, 2005 20:23 IST
Fernando Alonso must wait two more weeks to become Formula One's youngest champion.
Even if McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen wins the next round in Brazil, the end is drawing near after the final European Grand Prix of the season in Belgium on Sunday.
Six points are all Renault's 24-year-old Spaniard needs now to clinch the title, regardless of what Raikkonen does.
Despite his 25-point advantage with three races remaining, Alonso was still taking nothing for granted after finishing second to Raikkonen at Spa.
However, McLaren boss Ron Dennis recognised that his man's hopes are in the hands of fate -- or a simple bathroom blunder.
"I wouldn't wish anything on anybody, but Alonso could slip over in the bath, couldn't he," said Dennis when asked whether the drivers' title was out of reach.
"It's not over. It's just more difficult.
"I would have loved to leave here leading the constructors' [standings], and a little bit closer on the gap [to Alonso] would have been not just great for us but for Formula One too."
McLaren should have had a one-two for the first time in five years on Sunday but, as in Turkey last month, were thwarted again.
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya crashed out four laps from the end after a collision with Williams' Brazilian stand-in Antonio Pizzonia, handing Alonso second place.
Instead of taking the lead in the constructors' championship, as had looked inevitable, McLaren were left six points adrift of Renault.
That is despite McLaren having won eight of the last 12 races and boasting clearly the quickest car. Consistency, or lack of it, has been their downfall.
Alonso has finished second in the last three races and on the podium 12 times in 16 Grands Prix.
Every time Raikkonen tries to reign him in, he finds the Spaniard either right behind him or able to claw the lost points back in the next race.
"I think it will be difficult for Raikkonen to catch him," said Renault boss Flavio Briatore. "But the constructors' championship is much closer and we will stay focused on that until the end."
Alonso started Sunday's race knowing he would be champion if he finished four points ahead of Raikkonen but that nothing would be decided if neither scored. Now the pressure is all on the McLaren driver.
Alonso can retire and still be champion in Brazil if Raikkonen fails to finish in the top four.
"I only need six points and it doesn't matter if Kimi wins," he said.
Renault will have a new aerodynamics package for the Interlagos race and Alonso will also have a new engine, which will also be an evolution of the one used at Spa.
"I think it can be a good race for us," he said. "I think Interlagos has been a good circuit for the Renault characteristics and this year even more so.
"In Brazil I think we can be really competitive ... I need six points so to be on the podium will be the target again. I am very confident that it will be possible."
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