F1 2006 – Renault

F1 2006 – Renault

Renault Celebrate In China - 2005The reigning Formula One World Champions have prepared long and hard for this years assault on the title. Their one aim must surely be to defend both titles and continue their reign at the top of the listings.

With such a great start to last years campaign, Renault were able to defend the late charge from McLaren and keep the Silver Arrows at bay. However, I do feel that this year will prove to be more difficult, with McLaren looking set to hit the ground running. Renault will need to be more aggressive throughout the year if they are to successfully defend their crown. The true test of Renault starts in 2006, and I am very keen to see the clash of the titans.

The Japanese and Chinese Grand’s Prix in 2005 saw that Fernando Alonso has the capability to fight hard and take the challenge whenever it is presented. Alonso’s performance in the final part of last season silenced many of his critics and shocked a few unsuspecting drivers, namely Michael Schumacher. Providing Renault have built a half decent car, and providing Fernando can keep the momentum and not get complacent, he should be able to defend his title with relative ease. Alonso now knows how to win, and also how to win championships. 2005 was certainly character building at times for the young Spaniard, but he showed that he wasn’t fluxed by certain events and misfortunes. Instead, he kept his head down and plagued the McLarens like a bad case of influenza.

Fernando has signed a contract for 2007 already, but unfortunately for the French team, it isn’t on their headed paper. Instead, Alonso has gone behind his managers back (who happens to be the same Flavio who runs the Renault team) and put his name on a McLaren contract. This will be a bitter pill for Renault to swallow, and I am sure they are going to consider their future in the sport after this season is over.

I don’t think this will detract from Alonso’s commitment to the 2006 campaign, and he will continue to work hard and fight like a reigning champion. I also don’t feel that this will in anyway affect Alonso’s team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella. Renault will want to win, and their best chance is to push Alonso, and ensure that Fisichella is supporting. Giancarlo will be eager to get a 2007 contract with Renault though, should the boys in blue (and yellow) decide to continue.

Giancarlo Fisichella – team mate to the current World Champion – didn’t have such a great 2005. Being number two for the majority of the season appeared to grind the Italian down, and when bad went to worse, it seemed Fisi couldn’t lift himself out of it. For sure, Giancarlo was hit with bad luck in terms of car reliability. Often – through no fault of his own – his car would fail. This hasn’t done his morale or confidence any good, but if Giancarlo was able to regroup over the winter, there is no reason why he cannot start the season refreshed.

I have always regarded Giancarlo as one of the more exceptional drivers in Formula One. Whilst he isn’t quite Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Alonso or Schumacher material, he does head up the rest with raw natural speed. Fisichella is one of the more experienced drivers, and has spent many years running around in the midfield proving his worth in less-than-great cars. So many times he has sprung a surprise and driven the race of his life. Unfortunately, he has also made some silly mistakes and can let the bad times get on top of him.

If he can forget about the 2005 campaign and work through bad times in a similar way to his team mate, then there is no reason why he cannot support Fernando better this year, and maybe even outrace him.

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