Fisichella in mood to be Renault's driving force - Motor Racing - Sport - The Independent

Fisichella in mood to be Renault's driving force

Five months ago the Renault managing director Flavio Briatore's lip curled and he could barely hide his disgust and disappointment when his driver Giancarlo Fisichella lost the lead of the Japanese Grand Prix with two laps to go to a charging Kimi Raikkonen.

Now, Fisichella appears to be Briatore's blue-eyed boy. The world champion Fernando Alonso is still Renault's lead driver at the top of the World Championship table following a victory and a second place so far in 2006, but since the Spaniard revealed last December that he is heading for McLaren in 2007, the signs are there that Fisichella, Formula One's perennially unlucky star, is back in favour.

The winner here in Albert Park last year, he won again in Malaysia a fortnight ago and, though that triumph owed much to a problem in qualifying that left Alonso with a heavy fuel load, the Italian is regaining the confidence that he lost after that Japanese defeat.

Fisichella is one of the stylists of the game and to watch him on a fast lap is to see the economy of effort that marks out the drivers who can make a hard job seem easy, but he is also sensitive to setbacks, whereas Alonso takes the knocks without any apparent negative effects.

"I'm confident," Fisichella said yesterday during preparations for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix. "It's a fantastic atmosphere for me here. I've a good feeling and a great memory from last year. I'm really optimistic. It's like 2005 again for us, winning both opening races, , but the most important thing is to have a reliable car. Developing the car is the secret of Formula One, we need to carry on developing. I'm confident Renault will do this. "The McLaren has potential to be as quick as we are. They are going to have a better car here so they may be a bit closer."

Arguably, Renault have the strongest driver line-up, and the most potential for team-mates to fall out. "I'm happy if I have to fight with my team-mate because it means that the car is competitive and it's good news for the team and for me," Alonso said, with the clear subtext that he believes he will have the upper hand in any such battle.

"Even if I'm leaving the team, I have no doubts that I saw in the first two races that nothing has changed from last year. The two of us will have the same opportunities and the same favour in the team as we did last year. They know that we need to try to win the championship so they need to try and help me."

McLaren come here with aerodynamic and power upgrades while Ferrari, Honda and Williams have not been standing still. But the odds favour the blue cars again this weekend.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week