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Alonso calls for Renault improvements

After suffering defeat from Ferrari driver Schumacher, Spaniard Alonso has asked his team to make improvements in their car.

india Updated: May 08, 2006 17:49 IST

World drivers' champion Fernando Alonso has called on his Renault team to make swift improvements to their R26 car if he is to halt Michael Schumacher's winning run.

Spaniard Alonso, 24, leads this year's driver standings by a reduced margin of 13 points after Ferrari driver Schumacher beat him into second place in the European Grand Prix on Sunday.

Alonso has finished inside the top two places in every race so far this season, but now believes Ferrari have bridged the French team's performance advantage following successive wins at Imola and the Nurburgring.

Alonso said, "I think we need to improve a little bit in all areas. We saw the normal picture again that we now need something more to win than we currently have."

"At Imola we were ready to fight - I think we were quicker than Ferrari during the race but I think at the Nurburgring it was a question of time - when they overtake us? At the first stop or the second stop? It was nearly impossible to keep them behind for sixty laps."

With no chance to test before round six of this year's world championship - the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend - Ferrari's advantage over Renault looks set to continue.

But Alonso disagrees, believing that he is still the favourite to win his home event for the first time due to the Michelin tyres available to Renault.

"I think Barcelona will be a good point, because we have always been quick there in testing," he said.

"Michelin has been in a dominant position in Barcelona over the last two years so I'm really looking forward to winning that one."

His pursuer Schumacher, 37, however, has been buoyed by his fifth Nurburgring victory - his 86th in all.

The win means he has taken twice as many maximum scores as last year, but the German believes the Scuderia have had a race-winning pace all season.

"I thought we looked good already at the first race honestly, so it's not a surprise to be win," said Schumacher.

"We are good now because with the exception of Malaysia where we probably weren't that competitive, in the rest of the races we had the package available."

"As I said at the beginning, the important thing from now on is who has the quicker rate of development. We have been good, traditionally, in the past, and we just have to keep making little steps."

Despite his healthy championship lead over the German, Alonso still believes four teams have a chance to win races this year.

"I think it's not a surprise that Ferrari is fighting, but I expect McLaren will arrive also. Honda are really strong in some races so nothing changes from the beginning of the championship," he added.

"There are four teams, sometimes one is quicker, sometimes another one is slower, but all four teams are strong and ready to fight."

First Published: May 08, 2006 17:49 IST