Alonso demands help from Renault

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The Independent Online

Winning in Formula One these days takes a team effort embracing the input of more than 500 people. So when Fernando Alonso says that he feels alone in his drivers' title fight with Michael Schumacher, it tells you a lot about his mindset at this crucial point.

Once regarded as the calm young man who was rattling the German veteran's cage, his hitherto hidden emotional streak may yet prove to be his undoing as the pressure mounts in the final two races.

Following hard on his outbursts at Monza, where he had every right to feel hard done by as the stewards found themselves obliged to dock him his three fastest qualifying times after he inadvertently impeded Ferrari's Felipe Massa on his fastest lap, he has been outspoken about his Renault team, and his driving partner Giancarlo Fisichella, after losing what seemed a certain win in last week's Chinese Grand Prix.

Alonso denied yesterday that there was any sort of rift between himself and the team. "It is not a problem at all with anybody," he said. "What I felt was that maybe I had a problem with the car, which was a specific problem for nine or 10 laps, and I felt alone, for sure.

"I was first and my team-mate was second, but then they [Fisichella and Schumacher] caught up with me and then they were gone. After I recovered the pace, they were too far ahead. For sure, it is like you are in the Tour de France, in the mountains, and you have a puncture, and your team and your rival go uphill and don't stop. That was a little bit difficult to understand."

Spanish media sources also suggested that he had indicated that some factions within Renault would not be happy to see him take the coveted No 1 to McLaren when he switches at the end of the season. Alonso denied that, but said he thought that winning the constructors' championship was the greater priority for the French manufacturer.

"All the team and all the people are really focused for the championship. We have been leading both championships all season, and for these last races all the people are motivated. The atmosphere in the team is super. Every single person in the team is just focused on the championship. But for sure for the team the constructors' title is more important than the drivers."

Alonso reserved his main criticism for the decision to make him fight with Fisichella in Shanghai, as he lost four seconds a lap struggling to break in new front tyres after his first pit stop. "I fought Fisichella in the last corner, I overtook him once, he overtook me and I overtook him again. These risky moments, with three races to go in the championship, and with your team-mate, is not good enough.

"I think the team do the maximum they can. They have given me a fantastic car, winning the championship last year and fighting this year. So what the team does in every race is unbelievable, to be equal in the drivers' championship and equal in the constructors'.

"The team is giving us a fantastic car, but in some occasions in a different view or a different approach I have felt a little alone. I had difficult moments in Indy [Indianapolis], when I was not competitive, and in China I was off the pace for about 10 laps and losing four seconds a lap. In these two moments, my opinion is that with the team maybe I should have had more help."