Posted on January 20, 2009
Superfit Alonso aims high | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

It’s been a busy couple of days in the F1 world, with three car launches and some more rhetoric in the escalating war of words between Bernie Ecclestone and the F1 teams association, FOTA.

Let’s start with Renault. Fernando Alonso says he can win the championship with this car, he’s ecstatic about the wind tunnel figures, which say that the car should be very fast once they get it running against the opposition on a dry track.

Alonso is once again in the strange position of starting a season at Renault, with a contract in his pocket to drive for another team in the future, as he was when he won the 2006 world title. Of course many people are still denying that a Ferrari deal is done, while Alonso himself is saying, craftily, that he has been asked this question now for five years (true) so nothing changes and he is focussed on the season ahead.

It would be churlish to dwell on what happens next year or 2011, when Renault have put in a great effort to build him a winning car. He seems pretty bullish about his chances this season and why not? Renault made up a lot of ground last season as they finally got to grips with the Bridgestone tyres and with the aerodynamic problems they had built in to the car by mistake. And with the FIA and the other teams allowing them to bring their engine up to everyone else’s level (a special dispensation) they have every chance to compete this season with Ferrari, McLaren and BMW. In Alonso they have a proven champion and just to show he’s really serious he’s lost 3 kilos over the winter. Every little counts, as they say, and with extra driver weight a handicap in a car already bloated with the weight of a KERS system, those three kilos could save him a tenth of a second.

He’s also worked hard on building up his shoulder muscles because he expects a more physical challenge from the grip level of the slick tyres.

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Superfit Alonso aims high
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  1.   1. Posted By: Nick
        Date: January 20th, 2009 @ 6:52 pm 

    Interesting post. Reading Alonso’s comments he seems to be suggesting that Renault’s target is to win both championships, particularly as they have seen positive results from the wind tunnel etc.

    I don’t think Alonso is actually saying he can win it, rather that he is aiming for it, because of course at this stage nobody knows how competitive all of the other teams will be.

    I’ve noticed a slight softening of your stance toward Alonso in the last couple of months. I’m not suggesting that you are anti-Alonso but I agree with you with regard to the Ferrari – Alonso rumours, if true being an exciting prospect for the future.

    I would be interested to hear whether anyone has attempted to write a biography of Alonso. I understand he would not attempt an autobiography at this stage of his career but I can think of one writer who has shown excellent credentials through his book covering Michael Schumacher..

    So James, yes you!, how about you approaching Alonso to discuss a mid career biography of an enigmatic and great champion..?

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  2.   2. Posted By: Marcus
        Date: January 20th, 2009 @ 6:59 pm 

    Is there any indication yet as to which KERS system is the best. I know its probably too early to tell, but I get the impression that Williams have pulled a masterstroke by going in a different direction to the other teams, especially if it is that cheap.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether Alonso’s confidence is justified, but surely all of the developments to the R28 in the second half of 2008 will have compromised Renault’s 2009 season.

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  3.   3. Posted By: Robert McKay
        Date: January 20th, 2009 @ 9:10 pm 

    Well, looking at some of the comments from the car launches, it seems possible that noone will start in Melbourne with working KERS!

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  4.   4. Posted By: Alex
        Date: January 20th, 2009 @ 10:27 pm 

    The wind tunnel might say it’s a great car but that nose and rear end look ghastly. And as for the new colour scheme the less said the better!

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  5.   5. Posted By: Nic Maennling
        Date: January 21st, 2009 @ 1:25 am 

    I think the various F-1 tracks will be littered with front wings this summer. They look rather ungainly.

    I cannot wait for the first race !

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  6.   6. Posted By: Finn
        Date: January 21st, 2009 @ 9:18 am 

    If (absolutely HUGE IF) Renault get a car that is close to the front of the field, Alonso has enough talent over the rest of the field to win the WDC …. can’t wait to see the relative performances of the 2009 cars.

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  7.   7. Posted By: john g
        Date: January 22nd, 2009 @ 7:33 pm 

    i think any of the big teams’ decisions whether or not to run KERS at melbourne GP would be more down to whether a heavy energy recovery system would be suitable to that particular track, rather than if it would be ready in time.

    as for the costs, i can’t believe the williams system is comparable to the rest if it costs so much less. there are talented engineers in every other team that would have looked at all the methods and decided to spend a lot more money on electrical storage.

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