Following on from his comments in the Spanish press earlier in the week, Fernando Alonso has admitted to feeling 'abandoned' by the Renault team during the Chinese Grand Prix, although he denied talk of a rift between himself and team.
Alonso was quoted by Spanish newspaper AS
as saying that some members of the team didn't want to see him claim a second straight title, only to then take the #1 to McLaren next season – a claim denied by the team – and it was little surprise that the reports were the hot topic of conversation during the Thursday press conference at Suzuka ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Questioned about the reports, Alonso – who now has to outscore Michael Schumacher in the last two races to claim the crown – said he had no problem with anyone within the Renault team, although he admitted to feeling alone during the Shanghai race when he lost time on track following his first pitstop.
“There is not a problem at all with anybody,” he said. “What I felt there is that maybe I had a problem with the car that was a specific problem for ten laps, nine, eight or whatever, and I felt alone, for sure. I was first and my team-mate was second and they came to me, they overtook me and they were gone. And after, when I recovered the pace, they were too far ahead.
“It is like you are in the Tour de France in the mountains, climbing, you have a puncture or whatever and your team and your rival has gone uphill with no stops. That was a little bit difficult to understand.”
Alonso went on to state that he felt that the team was doing all it could to try and secure the titles against a resurgent Ferrari although he added that there were occasions when more could have been done – such as in China when Fisichella was allowed to fight for position at a crucial point in the championship.
“I think the team does the maximum they can,” he said. “They are giving me a fantastic car, winning last year's championship and fighting this year. What the team does every race is unbelievable and thanks to that, we are equal in the drivers' and ahead in the constructors'. For sure the team is giving us a fantastic car for Giancarlo and me, but, on some occasions, in a different view and a different approach, I felt a little bit alone.
“I had two difficult moments this year, one in Indianapolis, where I was not competitive, and one in China, where for ten laps I was completely off the pace and losing four seconds a lap and in these two moments, maybe in my opinion, in team play, I should have had more help.
“In China I fought with Fisichella in the last corner, turn 14, once and he overtook me and I overtook him again because he went a little bit longer. These risky moments, with three races to win the championship, I think (it's) not good enough.”