Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore has said that he is confident Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr will make a strong combination this season in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
While Alonso was strong last year – and returned the Regie
to the top step of the podium in Singapore and Japan, Piquet had a difficult debut season and only scored 19 points.
Despite that though, Briatore is convinced 'his' two men will be able to do well with the new R29, which was unveiled to the world's media on Monday at the Algarve Motor Park near Portimao in the south of Portugal.
"It's important to have some stability, especially when the environment around you is changing [with all the revisions to the regulations]," said Briatore. "Fernando and Nelson know each other; they worked well together last year and they feel comfortable in the team. They also know that we are doing all we can to give them a competitive package this season.
"Fernando is without doubt the best driver on the grid - he proved that again last year and we are delighted to continue our collaboration with him, which is a real boost for the team.
"Nelson has learnt an enormous amount and matured during his rookie season; we want to give him the chance to confirm the faith we have in him.
"Looking ahead to the season I am convinced that we have a particularly competitive driver line-up."
Pressed on who might be their main competitors in 2009, Briatore added that he expects to see some 'surprises'.
"It's never easy to make predictions at this stage of the year. We know where we are in our development programme and we also have the feedback from the drivers and engineers, but I don't want to risk making any predictions, especially this season with so many new rules," he explained. "We can probably expect some surprises though, which will be interesting for the fans..."