Alonso announced his departure from McLaren yesterday after a fraught year with the team that saw him fail to win a third consecutive drivers’ championship by a single point.
Renault endured a torrid 2007, the sole highlight being a podium finish in the Japanee Grand Prix for Heikki Kovalainen.
However the team began work on its 2008 challenger in August as is confident that it understands the tyre and aerodynamic problems that plagued it throughout 2007.
It remains to be seen which Renault driver Alonso might replace. Although Giancarlo Fisichella has performed poorly for the team he proved a useful number two to Alonso in 2005-6, rarely taking points off the Spaniard.
It has been suggested that Kovalainen might join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in Alonso’s place.
But the Spanish driver has also been linked to a drive at Ferrari from 2009, indicating he may only spend a year with Renault. Briatore seemed to confirm this saying:
I know how much he can still give Renault. But an agreement for one year would have no sense with an outlook projected for a period of time.
Photo: Renault media / LAT photgraphic