Fernando Alonso insists that is remains hopeful of a return to the Formula One podium, despite his Renault team struggling to make the top eight on occasions.

The Spaniard admits that he needs to qualifying better if he is to be able to compete for the top three, but is optimistic that, despite the opportunity to test between races, the regie can produce a similar sort of turnaround to 2008, where the R28 went from being a midfielder to winning both the Singapore and Japan rounds of the world championship

"Unfortunately, I am getting used to this," he told the official F1 website, "It is a very similar situation to the beginning of last year. We have not been competitive and, at the end, we were able to get three podiums with two wins. For this year, there is the hope that we are able to get on the podium as well.

"We know that we are not on a good level now, but we will not think of giving up. If we find something good on the car, that we are able to develop even more, then we can probably be on the podium very soon. We will keep on working.

"I think this is normal in every sport, and even more so in F1. We have a very good example with one of the greatest drivers, with Michael Schumacher - he has won two championship titles with Benetton, and then five years of not being able to win the title. You have to keep calm, and know that, during your career, you will have good moments and not-so-good moments. Right now, I am at the phase of some bad moments, [but] I am only 27 years old, so I need to keep improving and learning, so that I am prepared when I have a competitive car again. And then I need to be better than ever."

Along with its rivals, Renault has spent the three-week break between races to develop new parts for the Nurburgring this weekend, but Alonso is aware that simply changing the spec of the car won't be enough to transform his fortunes.

"We have some new aerodynamic parts, especially the front wing and the wheel fairings, [and] we hope to gain some tenths of a second, although the other teams will have some improvements as well," the double world champion confirmed, "Hopefully, we can do a little better than our competitors, [as] we have to start from better positions than we did throughout the last couple of races. Between P8 and P10 is not good enough. We need to be in the top six in qualifying if we want to be able to score points on Sunday, so the target is to improve the Saturday afternoon.

"At the last couple of races we had the opportunity to score some point, but we didn't, so during the last weeks we were trying to maximise the performance of the car. Hopefully, in Germany, we can do a perfect qualifying, to have the chance to start from a good position on the grid and then be able to push all through the race. The clear goal is to score some points."

The lack of continued success at Renault has again given rise to speculation that Alonso will be on his way out of Enstone at the end of the season, but the Spaniard refuses to discuss the story.

"These are only rumours," he insisted.


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