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Briatore clears the air with Alonso
October 06, 2006 11:45 IST
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore has cleared the air with Fernando Alonso after the Formula One world champion complained about a lack of support at last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso, level on points but behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher 7-6 on race wins after finishing second to the German in Shanghai, told a news conference at Suzuka on Thursday that he had felt alone.
Briatore said he had spoken to the Spaniard, and Italian team mate Giancarlo Fisichella who seemed to bear the brunt of the criticism, at the Japanese Grand Prix circuit and was confident there is no problem.
"I talked with Fernando and Fisi yesterday, sometimes we talk about frustration and pressure and this and that. It happens," he told reporters on Friday.
"But I don't think there is any problem at all. Maybe there is some more motivation for this weekend."
Briatore said Alonso, who is joining McLaren next year, had complained before about feeling alone and attributed little significance to his words.
"Fernando said this already last year at one point, you remember," he said. "I think maybe once a year he does that. Now he's done it, he will be okay for the last two races."
Alonso had complained of feeling unsupported in Shanghai, when Fisichella went past him as he struggled with new tyres that took nine laps to 'scrub in', and at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis in July.
The Spaniard was also slowed by a long second pitstop in Shanghai.
Briatore said Renault had done everything they could to support the Spaniard, admitting only that they had let him down in Hungary in August when he retired after a wheel nut came loose following a pitstop.
"Really the only one heavy mistake was in Budapest," said Briatore.
"On Sunday I don't believe in the end that the pitstop had any influence on the race. It looked bad, but...really we lost 10 points in Budapest, that is the reality."
Briatore rejected the suggestion that Fisichella should have helped out more in China, and made clear that Alonso had himself requested the tyre change at the root of his problems.
"There was no question for Fisi to overtake," said the Italian. "It was impossible to keep Fisi behind in second. You guys saw the race.
"We never expected the graining to be for so long. We expected to have some graining, we changed the tyre only because it was the request of the driver."
Schumacher can win a record eighth championship in Suzuka on Sunday if he wins and Alonso fails to score. Otherwise the title will be decided in Brazil on October 22.
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