Renault fired up by Alonso's exit

Updated: 2007-01-25 08:46

Double world champion Fernando Alonso's move to McLaren has made Renault even more determined to retain their Formula One title, team boss Flavio Briatore said on Wednesday.

The new ING Renault Formula 1 R27 car is seen during the official presentation of the ING Renault F1 team in Amsterdam January 24, 2007. [Reuters]
Speaking after the French manufacturer unveiled the R27 car it hopes will bring a third successive championship, the Italian said the mood was more united, motivated and focused than ever.

"People in the team want to be winning again," he said. "Sometimes you need to see the positive. The fact that Fernando left and went to McLaren has motivated many more people."

Briatore said Renault had grown used to their beaten rivals trying to poach the best technical people every season. This year was different however.

"Being world champions, everybody attacks you. From Red Bull to Ferrari and McLaren...everybody believes that you have the best engineers because you won the championship," he said.

"In the Renault team this year, I guarantee you so many engineers were approached by the competition. And everybody wants to stay."

Briatore said Renault's was a true team effort, on considerably less money than some rivals, and suggested Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and Finnish rookie Heikki Kovalainen could fill Alonso's shoes.

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