Briatore holds peace talks with Alonso
The Renault team chief has held peace talks with Fernando Alonso to clear the air so he can focus on winning the Japanese GP.india Updated: Oct 06, 2006 11:51 IST
Renault team chief Flavio Briatore has held peace talks with Fernando Alonso to clear the air so he can focus on winning the Japanese Grand Prix and keep alive the team's double world titles bid.
The flamboyant Italian spoke out Friday after the defending world champion criticised Renault for failing to give him full support this season.
Alonso said on Thursday that he felt "alone" during the Chinese Grand Prix last Sunday when tyre problems wrecked his chances of winning to retain his lead in the championship.
Retirement-bound seven times champion Michael Schumacher won the rain-hit race to take the championship lead for the first time this season.
"I talked with Fernando and Fisichella," said Briatore, who arrived in Suzuka late Thursday to be greeted by reports of a simmering feud in the team.
"Sometimes we talk about frustration, pressure and this and that, it happens. But I don't think there is any problem and maybe it gives us some more motivation this weekend."
Briatore said he felt Renault had given full support to Alonso this year.
"I think so, absolutely," he said, when asked about the team's backing for their star driver.
"But not in Budapest, that was one mistake and was our only mistake. It happens," he added, referring to a blunder with a wheel nut that forced Alonso to retire.
"On Sunday, in China, I don't think the (second) pit-stop had any influence to the race. It looked bad, but overtaking on the circuit is impossible. You never know, though. We lost ten points in Budapest, this was really the reality."
The Renault team chief added that he felt Alonso was wrong to say that Fisichella should have helped him more in China where he struggled on his freshly-fitted intermediate tyres midway through the race.
"There was no question for Fisi to overtake," he said.
"It was impossible to keep Fisi behind and hold Michael (Schumacher). You guys saw the race. We never expected the graining and we changed the tyre only because it was requested by the driver.
"There was no question about responsibility, and the judgement of Fernando was always good.
"In this moment, we decided to change the tyre, but after that it was impossible to keep somebody behind if you are four seconds off the pace."
Alonso, who will leave Renault for McLaren Mercedes-Benz at the end of the year, kept a low profile following his comments, but looked anything but enamoured by his plight as he killed time that night at the circuit hotel.
He made no comments on his situation.
Briatore earlier Friday told Gazzetta dello Sport that was confident his team would sweep the drivers and constructors titles despite their performance in China.
"Our chances are still good, because we're convinced we have the fastest car at the moment," he said.
First Published: Oct 06, 2006 11:51 IST