Fernando Alonso has sought to give the lie to those who suggest he will be on the move from Renault at the end of the 2009 Formula 1 season - if not before - by insisting that he has a 'long-term' contract with the French manufacturer.

There has been considerable speculation in recent months that the former double world champion - who clinched both of his drivers' crowns with Renault in 2005 and 2006 - is becoming increasingly disenchanted with the team's lack of competitiveness in 2008, after returning to the squad from a title-challenging position at McLaren-Mercedes last year.

Whereas this time twelve months ago Alonso had 68 points on the board, this time around he has a meagre 13 - with not so much as a single rostrum finish to his name - prompting paddock whispers that he is Ferrari-bound sooner or later. Not necessarily so, he suggests.

"I have a contract with Renault for the long-term," the Spaniard affirmed, "but of course at the end of every season you need to look at what the possibilities are. It is not the time now in August to think, but for sure in September and October I will have a think and we will decide.

"The feeling is sometimes a little bit of frustration when you see you do a perfect race and you finish sixth or seventh and there is nothing more that you can do. [If] you do a perfect lap in qualifying, maybe you are fifth.

"This is not what I have been used to the last few three or four years when I have been on pole positions and on the podium, but it is part of the job and the sport is like that. You go up and down, and hopefully one day we will be on the podium [again].

"It is not that the same guy is winning the Tour de France or the World Cup or whatever. Every year it's a new challenge and some new difficulties. Now we are in a moment that is difficult. We need to recover a little bit of confidence and build a winning team again. We are in that phase, but I am not worried.

"There is still some developing in this car and some improvements in every race. It's true also that in Jerez for some of the test we were looking at next year's car. We were testing with slick tyres, so it was a good opportunity to test maybe new solutions for next year's car, but this year's car is still the main priority at the moment."

The recently-turned 27-year-old has claimed that the current cost cutting-designed engine freeze regulations have penalised those teams like Renault who have perhaps stuck more stringently to the letter of the rules than have done others.

"When the engine was frozen two or three years ago I think Renault more-or-less stopped developing and carried on with the new regulations," he explained. "At the Viry factory in Paris there are less people working and just the maintenance of the engine; [they] build the engine and nothing more than that, no research and no developing.

"I was in another team last year and I know how much they improved the engine during the season and how many steps we introduced, and it is the same for all the teams. Every three or four races there is a little step in the engine which gives you some horsepower. For Renault, it has not been like that for the last two years. There has been a lack of power probably in the last three years."

That notwithstanding, the 19-time grand prix winner remains hopeful of adding to his 2008 points account in Hungary this weekend - a race in which he achieved his maiden F1 triumph with the R?gie back in 2005 in only his 30th start in the top flight - even if he is less convinced about his chances of emulating team-mate Nelsinho Piquet's podium success of Hockenheim two weeks ago.

"Obviously the target and the goal for the rest of the season is very clear - to try to be fourth in the constructors' championship," he underlined. "Now we are sixth, but only two points from Toyota and one from Red Bull, so the last race with eight points was a big, big step for us in terms of confidence and motivation to keep pushing. It didn't change too much in the team, but now we are closer to our goal.

"[The Hungaroring] has been a good circuit for Renault in the past, but there have been [other] good circuits for us in the past and this year it is not like that anymore, so we will see how it is this weekend.

"Obviously we arrive with some confidence and some optimistic feeling. In Jerez we found some good solutions it seems, so it depends of course how the others improve as well, but we should be a little bit better again here."


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