Friday, February 1, 2008

Renault expect no driver status problems

Flavio Briatore on Thursday refused to formalise speculation that Fernando Alonso has been promised 'number one' status by the Renault team in 2008.

As the French team's new car, the R28, was unveiled outside Paris, talk quickly turned to former double world champion Alonso's McLaren spat last year, and how Renault might handle its driver line-up differently this year.

"I don't want to hear about having a number one, number two, number three," Briatore said. "You just have to anticipate the problem before it comes.

"We have not discussed it. He knows the way we work in the team. He's a professional, not a lunatic," he added with reference to Alonso.

The Spanish racer himself also refused to confirm his favoured status, but revealed that Renault sees him as the more experienced and successful of the pair, completed by Brazilian rookie Nelson Piquet Jr.

"There is nothing in the contract, nothing strange," Alonso said. "They will put new parts in my car first and that's something I feel comfortable with.

And I know Flavio will help the driver who has more possibilities."

Alonso later told Spanish reporters: "We have some inexperienced drivers on board and I feel the responsibility to improve the car, but I do not mind that at all."

Playing to the same tune, 22-year-old rookie Piquet said he planned to drive as quickly as possible but also recognises Alonso's status in Formula One.

Alonso said he is not worried about facing up to another determined young team-mate.

"Nelson seems a normal person like me and Flavio is special," Alonso said. "He is the best in F1 at controlling situations and I don't foresee any problems."

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