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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


Drivers' title is top priority: Alonso

October 20, 2006 16:13 IST

Fernando Alonso says Renault must be fully behind his bid for a second successive Formula One title this weekend because it matters more than the constructors' crown.

"The important thing is the drivers' championship, not only for me, for everybody," the Spaniard told a Brazilian Grand Prix news conference on Thursday.

"We see all the publicity on the motorways, everywhere from China onwards. I think we only see Michael's (Schumacher) and Alonso's face on the pictures," added the 25-year-old.

"You don't see the logo of Ferrari and Renault. I think the people remember which driver is the champion and which car he drove.

"I don't think anyone remembers 10 years ago who was the constructors' champion."

Alonso, preparing for his last race as a Renault driver before joining Mercedes-powered McLaren, is 10 points clear of Ferrari's Schumacher ahead of the season-ending race at Interlagos.

Both have won seven times, which means Alonso need take only one point for the title while seven times champion Schumacher, retiring after Sunday's race, must win and hope the Renault driver fails to score.

Champions Renault are nine points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' standings.

SAME PRESSURE

There have been suggestions that Renault are more focused on the constructors' title, knowing that Alonso will take his number one to McLaren, but the Spaniard rejected that.

"For sure it's an important championship but I think the team and myself know which one is more important and try to win this drivers' championship first," he said.

"If we can help the team to become constructors' champions, it's good for next year, for the money, for the position and for the brand, but we will see."

Alonso won his title in Brazil last year to become the youngest ever champion. However he had two races in hand in 2006 whereas Interlagos is the final round this time.

He said the pressure was little different.

"When you have the chance to become champion, you always have the pressure, the motivation and the dream is close to being realised again," he said.

"Last year, for sure, I had three opportunities: here, China and Japan. And this year it's only the last race and you cannot lose this opportunity...So maximum concentration.

"I think the team is ready for this last battle. I am ready as well and we arrive in a good position thanks to the Japanese result and we try to do our best and do the final part of the job," he added.

Schumacher led the championship after the Chinese Grand Prix but Japan swung everything Alonso's way again with the German retiring with an engine failure while leading.

The Ferrari driver would have won the title at Suzuka had he won and Alonso failed to score but instead now needs nothing short of a miracle.

"It will become special for sure if this Sunday I win and win two titles in Brazil," said Alonso. "If I lose the championship it will be special as well, because it will be a very bad memory...if you lose the championship in the last race it will be difficult to forget."

© 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.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage

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