Fernando Alonso has dismissed Renault's chances of returning to the winners' circle in Formula 1 in 2009, stating his belief that the former double world championship-winning outfit is currently 'one of the worst' teams in the top flight.
Having claimed both of his drivers' crowns with the Régie
back at the height of the French concern's form and success in 2005 and 2006, Alonso's return this year has been anything but satisfactory, with just 18 points and not so much as a single rostrum finish to his name leaving the Spaniard sitting a lowly eighth in the drivers' title chase.
Despite the raft of sweeping new regulation changes being brought into F1 from next season, 19-time grand prix-winner Alonso remains unconvinced Renault will be capable of making a significant leap up the pecking order.
The squad currently sits in fourth spot in the constructors' rankings, four points shy of its target – fourth-placed Toyota.
“From one year to the next it is difficult to improve so drastically,” the 27-year-old told Spanish radio programme El Larguero
. “It may be difficult for Renault to step up to the level of the top teams in 2009.
“Never has a team gone from being one of the worst to winning [in one year].”
Alonso has recently been linked to making a £7.6 million switch to Honda next year [see separate story – click here
], with repeated claims that he is Ferrari-bound in 2010, if not before. He has insisted he will not make any decisions about his future in the sport until next month.