“For me the championship is finished already”
After a strong second half to the 2008 season in which Fernando Alonso
out-scored his rivals, Renault had hoped that the momentum would continue into the current season with a championship challenge.
However after six
races it is clear that double world champion Fernando Alonso
is scrapping for points while Nelson Piquet cannot extract enough pace from the R29 challenger to score at all.
This fact is not lost on team boss Flavio Briatore who has now declared that the title race is effectively over and his team. Renault has secured 11 points with Alonso to date and are sixth in the standings, some 75 behind the championship leaders Brawn Mercedes.
“We are not happy at all,” said Briatore. “We were expecting a different championship and we were expecting a much better performance from our car. From the beginning when we arrived in Australia we felt that we had a big difference between us and the Brawn. I think everybody felt that. I think you guys knew what was going on.”
“Our team I believe approached the 2009 car from a completely different approach but we expect to improve race by race if it is possible,” he continued. “But now the question is if we see what happens. For me the championship is finished already. Brawn is very, very difficult to beat for anybody.
Maybe Red Bull [has] a good possibility to finish second and I think everybody else is fighting for the third and fourth place.”
While Brawn, along with Williams and Toyota made best of the 2009 regulations, Renault has found itself trailing the likes McLaren, Ferrari and of course the Renault-powered Red Bull team as well as Brawn. Briatore was vocal regarding the double diffuser debate that dominated the headlines earlier this year but acknowledges that a single component does not make for a race winning package.
"I don’t think it is only the diffuser," Briatore stated. "It is with the concept of the car. Everybody now has the diffuser. I believe as well Brawn at this moment have another one or two tenths in the pocket."
"We try very hard but this is the situation. The team is improving the car and we have a chance now we are in June and July we want to really push with this car and see what happens. But the situation is really, really difficult for us," he concluded.