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Renault duo looks ahead to Istanbul

NEWS STORY
05/05/2008

Fernando, it was a bittersweet weekend in Spain. But you were keen to focus on the progress the team made in time for the race...
Fernando Alonso: We undoubtedly lost an opportunity to score some important points, which would have been very good for team morale. Both cars retired from the race, but the performance was there; we showed good pace and I believe that this is what we should take from the weekend. As it was my home race I would have liked to finish and I think that fifth place was achievable.

Do you think that the team will have the same level of performance in Turkey?
FA: It was clear from the beginning of the weekend that we had made progress in Barcelona and I said that this was thanks to the efforts of the whole team who have worked very hard in the last few weeks to get us closer to the leading pace. This is only the first step and we will have an aggressive approach for the races to come with further new developments. I know it will not be easy, but I am sure that we will now be able to have some exciting races, and as a driver I want this more than anything.

Do you enjoy Istanbul Park?
FA: Yes, and it reminds me of racing at other circuits, such as Spa, for example. The circuit is very wide and gives a good opportunity to overtake. There are also some special corners where you cannot see the exit and that makes Istanbul quite unusual. Turn 8 is especially interesting as it is a very long left hander where we experience more than 4g. It's a fun circuit and I hope I can take the most from it.

The Turkish Grand Prix has previously been held during the summer, but this year it takes place earlier. Do you think that the track will be any different as a result?
FA: The conditions will probably be slightly different, especially in terms of the temperatures, but they will be the same for all the teams and so it will be important to make the most of the practice sessions on Friday to make sure we are happy with the set-up. This is not something that worries me, and we can work well on hot or cool tracks and this aspect will make the weekend interesting.

The last Grand Prix was a bit disappointing...
Nelson Piquet: Yes, it's always disappointing to retire from a race, especially as a result of contact. The car was performing well and we were aiming to score points, which I think would have been possible. But we should not dwell on this, we must continue moving forward and I will keep learning. I will now try to put those lessons to good use in Istanbul so that I don't make the same mistakes again.

You already know the Istanbul Park circuit and have some good memories there...
NP: I won there in GP2 and also took pole position and the fastest lap. It is therefore a circuit where I have some happy memories. So it will certainly be easier for me to attack this weekend and to get my car working well.

Do you think that Turn 8 will be a lot more impressive behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car?
NP: Turn 8 is certainly one of the more interesting on the calendar. It is extremely fast and a tough test for the driver. I don't know if it will be more difficult in a Formula 1 car; maybe on the contrary because of the superior performance of the car, especially with the aerodynamic grip available. To be honest I cannot wait to see what it is like from my cockpit.

The team seemed to have made good progress in Spain. What will be the objective for Turkey?
NP: We have progressed well, but there is still a lot to do and the whole team is working hard. I hope the weekend will allow me to keep learning and reaching Q3 will once again be my goal. I will need to work well with my engineers during Friday practice in order to get the most from my car so that we can approach the Grand Prix calmly.

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