Fernando Alonso has pointed out that taking his first race since rejoining Renault does not mean that he will automatically be back with the Enstone team in 2009, but admits that the relationship is a good one.
The double world champion has long pointed out that he wants to be back in a race-winning car as soon as possible, but still refuses to be drawn on possible destinations for next season. He is understood to have a get-out clause that he can trigger halfway through his current two-year deal with the regie
, but with conditions attached relating to the team's performance in 2008.
Although not considered a front-runner this year, Alonso stole a fortunate victory in Singapore - admitting that, without an early safety car, he may not have scored at all - and helped Renault move into sole possession of fourth place in the constructors' championship, breaking a tie with Toyota brought about by closing a ten-point gap over the two previous races.
"It means a lot, obviously," he said of victory in F1's first-ever night race, "We always prepare for victories but, on Friday, we usually realise that we cannot fight for victory. This time was maybe a bit different. We were competitive straight away. Even though we had no simulator, nothing to prepare for the race, already from P1 we were quick.
"It means that the car here, for whatever reason, was competitive. We were hoping to take the benefit of this good car [into the race] but, after qualifying, maybe our hopes were gone already as we started 15th and 16th and you know then that it is nearly over. Without the safety car maybe I would have finished in the same position as qualifying, 15th or 14th. Again, however, today shows that Formula One is unpredictable on a Sunday.
"We keep improving the car, as I've said before. We started the season quite far away from pole position, and from the top teams, and now we are much closer, so we are definitely one of the teams who have most improved their car. But maybe it was not difficult because, at the beginning of the season, we were not at the right level.
"We have had a tough, tough 2008 championship, but now we are fighting for fourth place in the constructors'. This victory is well deserved as the guys worked extremely hard all through the season. We started far behind, maybe one second behind BMW, but now we are at the same pace as them - or even better - and this is thanks to a great job. We will find out very quickly in Fuji [if the Singapore progress was real], because we cannot forget that this is a very special track, but we will keep on pushing. Three more races to go and next year more."
Sunday's success - and the 'three races to go and next year more' soundbite - was naturally taken to suggest that Alonso would remain at Enstone at least until the end of his deal, but the Spaniard refused to be drawn.
"No, I didn't say that," he insisted, "I just want to say thanks to the team because, as I said, they keep working with this car. We had a new front wing at this race and, if you think how the championship is, and that they are already working on next year's car, they didn't forget the performance of this year [because] they brought a new front wing with four races to go.