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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


Alonso admits to loneliness

October 05, 2006 20:43 IST

Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso spoke out about his loneliness on Thursday, accusing Renault of twice abandoning him at crucial times this season.

However, the Spaniard, who is fighting to retain his title before joining McLaren next year, denied any rift with the team after he lost the overall lead to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher last weekend.

Comparing himself to a leader of the Tour de France left behind by team mates on a mountainside after suffering a puncture, the Spaniard said he had felt isolated in Shanghai last Sunday.

"I felt alone, for sure," the Spaniard, level-pegging on 116 points with Schumacher but 7-6 behind on race wins with two rounds to go, told a Japanese Grand Prix news conference.

"I was first and my team mate was second and they came to me and overtook me and were gone. When I recovered the pace they were too far away.

"It's like you are in the Tour de France, in the mountains and climbing and you have a puncture and your team and your rival go uphill with no stops.

"That was a little bit difficult to understand."

Alonso had a 20 second lead over Schumacher in China after starting on pole position, when he came in for a first pitstop that was to cost him the race.

He and the team agreed he should change his heavily worn front tyres, while team mate Giancarlo Fisichella and Schumacher continued the second stint with their existing sets.

It took Alonso nine or 10 laps to get the fresh tyres up to speed, during which time the other two had cut the distance and gone past him.

The Ferrari driver then overtook Fisichella for victory, with the Italian allowing Alonso past to take second place in a damage limitation exercise.

FULLY FOCUSED

Alonso appeared to be suggesting that, despite so-called 'team orders' being banned, Renault should have told Fisichella to maintain position and do everything to keep Schumacher behind.

Alonso rejected recent suggestions in the Spanish media that some people at Renault did not want him to join McLaren as champion.

"All the people in the team are really focused for the championship," he said.

"Now in the last two races, all the people are motivated and the atmosphere in the team is just super. For sure, the constructors' [title] is more important for the team, but they want to win them both."

Alonso recognised that Renault, who lead Ferrari by a point in the constrsuctors' standings, had also given him a "fantastic car" both this season and last and praised the team's "unbelievable" work.

"But on some occasions, in a different view or a different approach, I feel a little bit alone," he said.

Asked in what way, the 25-year-old provided two examples -- in China and at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, where he finished fifth with Fisichella third.

That race, won by Schumacher, could be seen as a turning point in the season with Alonso 25 points clear of Schumacher after the previous Canadian Grand Prix.

He has not won since, with Ferrari winning six of the last seven races.

"In these two moments... maybe I should have had more help," the Spaniard said.

Alonso pointed out how he had twice fought with Fisichella on the track in China, with the Italian overtaking him at turn 14 before again being overtaken, and clearly did not want that to happen again.

"These risky moments, with three races to go in the championship, with your team mate is not good enough I think," he said.

© Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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