Despite coming up short in the battle for second place in the constructors' championship, Renault F1 president Patrick Faure has congratulated his team for hitting the target of finishing in the top three which had been set last winter:.

Needing a 1-2 finish from Fernando Alonso and Jacques Villeneuve in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, Renault succeeded only in narrowing the points difference to rival BAR when the Spaniard came home ahead of Takuma Sato. Neither Villeneuve nor Jenson Button scored in the battle, as the gap closed to 14 points. Having led the pursuit of champions Ferrari for much of the season, Faure may have been disappointed at the outcome, but insisted that the team had lived up to his pre-season expectations.

"As a team boss, my role is to establish increasingly demanding objectives year on year," he explained, "That is the only way of motivating the workforce, focusing their energies and maintaining a crescendo towards success. When I set the Renault team the target of finishing in the top three of the constructors' championship, I knew that meant we would have to beat McLaren, Williams or Ferrari. It was an ambitious goal and I don't think many onlookers thought it was a realistic ambition at that stage.

"I congratulate the entire team for their work this season. It is a case of mission accomplished - we are well ahead of fourth place and very close to second. However, it is true that the result came about in a strange way - we are ahead of Williams and McLaren, legendary teams in the history of F1, but behind BAR, a team we perhaps did not expect to be fighting with this year. But overall, the 2004 season has been very, very positive for us."

Having achieved its aim for 2004, Faure can only be expected to target second place next season, and is confident that the recently-imposed rules package will give his team every chance of taking the fight to the teams around it.

"We have not yet precisely defined [our targets for 2005], but we will have to take another step forward," he confirmed, "We want to be able to fight for the world title in 2005-06 and, to achieve that, we must be among the teams that can fight on a level footing with Ferrari next year. I am convinced that 2005 will be a much more competitive season than this once has proved to be. The best is yet to come for the Renault F1 team."

Renault concluded its 2004 season with Alonso taking a tenacious fourth place in Brazil, while team-mate Villeneuve finished tenth. Both drivers chose to run on dry tyres in the tricky early conditions and, while they lost a lot of time in the opening laps, Alonso had benefited from the drying track and his brave tyre choice to take the lead by lap seven.

At that point, the team followed its planned two-stop strategy on both cars, but Alonso suffered from severe graining at the start of his second stint, which led the team to leave the front tyres on for his final stint. Although he subsequently lost more front grip, the Spaniard battled to keep faster competitors behind him over the next 20 laps.

"The choice to start on dry tyres was really a big risk - the car was very hard to drive and I went off on the formation lap and the first lap!" Alonso revealed, "It gradually got better and I managed to take the lead but, after the first stop, I knew I didn't have the pace to get on the podium. The car was understeering badly because of the graining during the second stint but, in spite of the problems, I attacked 100 per cent all the way through, kept the other cars behind and, thanks to that, confirmed fourth place in the drivers' championship."

Villeneuve got progressively faster throughout the race and his final stint proved very competitive, but he was already adrift of the points and, with little attrition up front, could not score.

"I think my race pace was actually very good today," the Canadian commented, "I was behind Fernando in the first few laps, but it would have been too much of a risk to try overtaking in the conditions. I lost time when the track was wet but, after that, I feel we were quite quick in the second and third stints. I didn't manage to score any points at Renault, but I think my performances got better and better with each race."