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Alonso Hints of Quitting Renault
    2008-06-18 16:02:17     Shanghai Daily

Fernando Alonso is not sure if he will stay with Renault after this season. The two-time world champion, who has had a disappointing year since returning to the French team, said he'll make a decision after the Formula One season ends.

"I do not know what will happen," the Spaniard said. "The car has improved a little, and I hope that by the end of the year we will get on the podium ... At the end of the year I will have to make a decision, and we will see where Renault is."

Alonso is ninth in the current standings with only nine points. Polish driver Robert Kubica leads with 42 points for BMW Sauber, four ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Last season Alonso partnered rookie Hamilton at McLaren where their relationship deteriorated as the Briton continued to chalk up podiums. In an acrimonious season, McLaren was fined US$100 million in a spying scandal and docked all of its constructors points.

Alonso returned to Renault last November without a third straight world championship.

Renault's technical director Bob Bell meanwhile said it will continue to develop its car to the end of the season.

Alonso suggested after the last Canadian GP that the team was coming to the point where its focus should switch to next year's car.

Looking ahead to Sunday's home French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, Bell said that the emphasis was still on achieving something in 2008.

"The car seems so be performing well on most circuits and that just reiterates that we've got a very strong platform now to go forward for the rest of the season," he said.

"We're under no illusion that we're going to have to work very hard to keep that level of competitiveness up, but we have an aggressive development programme for the rest of the season and we are confident that we have an adaptable baseline to work from.

"We've got some aerodynamic developments on the front wing, some aerodynamic parts at the rear of the car, and some developments to the suspension," Bell said of the planned steps for Magny-Cours.

"It's a good package of upgrades, which will hopefully help us take another step forward."

Alonso won at the French circuit with Renault in 2005, the year he took his first championship.

"We take heart from the fact that the car seems competitive, we have a great driver in Fernando, and we just need to keep our focus and continue putting the developments on the car," concluded Bell. "The worst thing we can do is get spooked by it (the lack of results) and start losing our attention to detail and commitment. We'll keep our heads down and things will come right for us."



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