Fernando Alonso has revealed that he will be racing pressure-free in the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos this weekend, after ensuring Renault will end the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship in the coveted fourth position in the constructors' title chase.
The Spaniard's back-to-back victories in Singapore and Japan, and strong run to fourth place in Shanghai only a week later, were instrumental in achieving the Régie's
stated aim of seeing off the threat of chief rivals Toyota. Now that target has been accomplished, Alonso stated, it is game on again.
"Our victories in Singapore and Fuji were a wonderful surprise," the former double F1 World Champion acknowledged, "and our fourth place in China confirmed our return to form. We were clearly the third-strongest team and we had similar race pace to the Ferraris, which is really satisfying for everybody in the team.
"We've all worked really hard and so it's a nice reward, especially as we have now confirmed our fourth place in the championship, which was the objective we set ourselves in the middle of the season.
"It's mission accomplished, and we can now approach the Brazilian Grand Prix calmly, more relaxed and with less pressure. That may help us take advantage of the situation, so we aim to have another strong weekend."
Team-mate Nelsinho Piquet will be participating in his first home race in the top flight when he takes to the track in São Paolo, and Alonso admitted he hopes that will provide the under-pressure rookie with an added boost to produce a good result as he bids to save his seat for 2009.
"I'm happy for Nelson because it's a special feeling to drive at home in front of your fans," the man from Oviedo confirmed, "and I am sure this will give him some extra motivation.
"It's an interesting circuit which has some different challenges and requires a compromise with the car set-up. That's because the track is anti-clockwise, the surface is very bumpy and there is a mix of corners, as well as a long straight. You therefore need a car with an efficient aero package and good mechanical grip to set a competitive lap time.
"It was at Interlagos that I won my two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, so it always feels great to come back here. Usually the atmosphere in Brazil is extraordinary – the fans are really passionate about the sport and it's a special place for Formula 1. It should be a great weekend, and after Singapore and Fuji the team now believes that anything is possible."