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Renault could have done more to keep me: Alonso
Alan Baldwin | February 01, 2006 11:02 IST
Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso suggested on Tuesday that Renault could have done more to stop him moving to title rivals McLaren in 2007.
"Yes, probably yes," the 25-year-old Spaniard told reporters at the launch of their new R26 car in Monaco when asked if there was anything the team could have done to keep him.
"It's between me and Renault," he added. "It was not more money, it's more [about the] future."
Alonso stunned Formula One last month when McLaren, last season's runners-up, announced he would be joining them in a year's time. The Spaniard confirmed on Tuesday it was a three-year deal.
Renault have been dogged by speculation about their commitment to the sport, with rumours last year that they could even pull out at the end of 2006.
Renault president Carlos Ghosn made clear on Tuesday however that the French carmaker would stay beyond 2007 if Renault remain competitive and there is a good return on investments.
Renault team president Patrick Faure said Alonso had made his own decision.
"He never asked us," said Faure. "If he had asked the question, we probably would have been able to answer him. But we were so involved in 2006, 2007 that we didn't think it was that important to conclude something for 2007 in 2005.
"Frankly, if really he thinks that, then it's a pity he didn't discuss it with us," added the Frenchman. "He never asked me the question 'Are you going to be there in 2007 or 08?' because I would have answered yes."
Alonso, was coy about the background to the contract negotiations with McLaren and who approached whom and when. But he said he has finished one stage of his career and wanted to start another.
"I think this period of my career finishes here and I need to win with more teams and find new motivation," he said.
The Spaniard did not rule out another move when his McLaren contract expired: "In 2009 I will see."
The champion said he is confident Renault would treat him and Italian team mate Giancarlo Fisichella as before.
"I am 100 percent confident with the Renault team and working for them," he said. "I will defend the number one and they will defend the constructors' championship and we need to help each other.
"I am sure we can do it again," he added.
Alonso said the mood in the team has not changed either since his departure was announced.
"I'm the same driver as last year. I have the same confidence, the same motivation.
"I want to win again but maybe I have less pressure this year," added the Spaniard, who won seven of last year's 19 races on his way to becoming the youngest champion.
"Maybe last year I was a young driver with talent and needing to prove that he can win a championship and not only races. And now I am more relaxed and maybe more confident in myself," he added.
"This year I want to win the championship but there is not the same stress."
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