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'Alonso exit good for Renault'
May 23, 2006 11:41 IST
Fernando Alonso's decision to leave Renault could be good for the Formula One champions, according to team boss Flavio Briatore.
Spaniard Alonso became the sport's youngest champion at the age of 24 last year and then signed to race for rivals McLaren from 2007.
Briatore, who is still Alonso's manager, said his departure was a loss but one that could have a silver lining.
"He is young, he has won a lot with the team, and he has been here for five years. So he wanted a new challenge and motivation," the Italian said in an interview released by the team on Monday.
"If he had talked to me, I would have given him a different opinion on what he should have done for his future.
"In the end, though, maybe this change is good for the team as well. You get into a cycle, and if you don't change, the winning ends.
"It happened to Benetton 10 years ago, with Ferrari last year, and maybe it could have happened to Renault as well," added Briatore, who was Benetton boss when Michael Schumacher was champion with that team in 1994 and 1995.
"Now, we have a fresh motivation for 2007: to make sure Renault is beating McLaren and Alonso," said Briatore, who will be hoping for another victory in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.
Alonso is leading seven-times champion Schumacher by 15 points in the championship after winning three of the six races, including his home grand prix in Spain.
Renault announced at the last race in Barcelona that they were committed to Formula One for the long term and were prepared to pay what it took to sign a top flight replacement for Alonso.
Briatore highlighted four drivers as proven race winners -- Schumacher, Alonso, his Renault team mate Giancarlo Fisichella and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.
"For the future, there are drivers like (Briton Lewis) Hamilton, or (Finland's Heikki) Kovalainen who could possibly win championships," he added.
Fisichella's contract expires at the end of the season while test driver Kovalainen could be promoted to a full race drive.
Hamilton, a winner in all the junior series he has entered, is backed by McLaren and looks likely to join that team in some role next year.
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