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Renault duo looks ahead to Brazil

NEWS STORY
27/10/2008

Fernando, a strong fourth place in Shanghai after your two victories in Singapore and Japan. The Asian leg of the championship has been extremely rewarding for you...
Fernando Alonso: Yes, absolutely. Our victories in Singapore and Fuji were a wonderful surprise and our fourth place in China confirmed our return to form. We were clearly the third strongest team and we had similar race pace to the Ferraris, which is really satisfying for everybody in the team. We've all worked really hard and so it's a nice reward, especially as we have now confirmed our fourth place in the championship, which was the objective we set ourselves in the middle of the season. So it's mission accomplished and we can now approach the Brazilian Grand Prix calmly and aim to have another strong weekend.

You obviously have some very fond memories of racing in Brazil...
FA: Yes, it was at Interlagos that I won my two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and so it always feels great to come back here. This year we have already achieved our objective to end the season fourth in the constructors' championship with the third quickest car so we can therefore approach this race with less pressure and be more relaxed, which may help us take advantage of the situation. After Singapore and Fuji, the team now believes that anything is possible.

It will be a home Grand Prix for your team-mate so there should be plenty of support for Renault...
FA: Yes, I'm happy for Nelson because it's a special feeling to drive at home in front of your fans and I am sure this will give him some extra motivation. Usually the atmosphere in Brazil is extraordinary: the fans are really passionate about the sport and it's a special place for Formula 1. So it should be a great weekend.

How would you describe the Interlagos track?
FA: It's an interesting circuit which has some different challenges and requires a compromise with the car set-up. That's because the track is anti-clockwise, the surface is very bumpy and there is a mix of corners, as well as a long straight. You therefore need a car with an efficient aero package and good mechanical grip to set a competitive lap-time.

Nelson, just a week after your strong drive to fourth in Fuji, you scored another point for eighth place in Shanghai. Are you happy with your end to the season?
Nelson Piquet: Yes, these are encouraging results, but I'm happier about the pace that we had and the strong race performances. The car has improved a lot recently; it's easier to drive and I therefore feel more comfortable with it. My priority now is to improve my qualifying performance to be better placed on the grid and that is what I will be concentrating on doing in Interlagos.

You're now preparing to take part in your first home Grand Prix. What is your state of mind like at the moment?
NP: To be honest, I'm really looking forward to it. I know that it will feel great to drive in my own country in front of my family and my friends – it's definitely a big source of motivation and I'm really determined to get the most from the weekend. I will do my best to remain concentrated, work hard with my engineers to try and make sure we have a really good race in Interlagos.

What are the main challenges of the Interlagos circuit?
NP: It's a circuit that is renowned for being particularly bumpy and so the suspension settings will be very important. You need a car that is supple enough to ride the bumps and the curbs in the second sector, while at the same time being reactive in the tight corners and having good change of direction. We will work on the set-up of the car and the suspension during the three hours of practice on Friday.

What are your hopes for your home race?
NP: I'm determined to have a great race – that goes without saying. But I'm not putting more pressure on myself because it's the Brazilian Grand Prix and my home race. Instead I'm approaching this race calmly and I will use the practice sessions to gradually improve the set-up of the car so that I am in the best shape possible for qualifying and the race. So I'm approaching the weekend one step at a time to try and deliver a great result.

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