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GP Week : Issue 36
>>F1 INSIGHT #5 – Fernando Alonso – Renault IF anybody had questioned the genius of Fernando Alonso, 2008 was the answer they needed. After a 2007, in which he had either been appallingly treated by McLaren, or thrown his toys out of the pram after getting whooped by a rookie (delete as applicable), his return to Renault was to a team in slight disarray. The car was a dog, the squad lacked direction and the season was going to be tough. With another rookie alongside him, Alonso took the brunt of the development work and turned the R28 into a seriously great car by season’s end. Of course, conspiracies flew over J-dampers and in the latter half of the season over driver aids or engine thaws to allow Renault to catch up to their rivals, but while these proved unfounded, Alonso’s pace continually improved. That he was beaten to the team’s first podium of the season by Piquet only seemed to spur him on. From the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, he scored in every race of the year. His win in Singapore was fortunate; his win in Fuji was fantastic. All of this combined to draw Renault up to fourth and Alonso to fifth in the standings, something neither could have hoped for at the start of the season. In 2008, Fernando Alonso proved why he is a double F1 World Champion. On his day he is the fastest and most determined racing driver out there. He has the knowledge and the work ethic to turn a team around and with new regulations putting everyone back to zero in 2009, expect this man to shine next season should Renault get their sums right. 41