Fernando Alonso is looking at Abu Dhabi this weekend in a positive light. His desire? To finish strong for a team who has delivered him two world titles. Understandable then that this will be an emotional farewell for the Spaniard as Renault has been a team and group of friends that have supported his efforts and delivered him the product to reach the highest level of motorsport success.
“Absolutely, I would love to finish the season and my Renault career with a great result,” said Alonso. “It will be an emotional race because I have enjoyed so many special memories with this team and I am leaving behind a lot of friends.
“Renault is one of the great teams in Formula One and I look forward to fighting with them on the track in the years ahead.”
Team boss Bob Bell also feels Alonso’s will be sorely missed as the team contemplates their future without Flavio Briatore or their champion Fernando Alonso.
“He’s made a huge contribution to the team, especially winning two world championships in 2005 and 2006 so he will be missed enormously,” said Bell.
“It’s often said that he is the best driver on the grid and I wouldn’t disagree with that so we’re understandably sad to see the end of our very successful relationship.
“But we’re also looking forward and we’re all delighted to be welcoming Robert Kubica to the team as I believe he will quickly show that he is of the same calibre as Fernando.
“He’s a strong team player, a great motivator and incredibly quick so we have plenty to look forward to as we enter a new era for the team.”
While the departure may be bittersweet, there are bright spots on both parties future. Ferrari will no doubt be a vehicle to excel with for Alonso. It would not surprise me to see Alonso with another world championship within three years if he can be successful in developing the team around him and his efforts. Much has been made about Alonso being difficult and the 2007 debacle at McLaren but I think that’s been overstated to be honest. Alonso will stand a very good chance and being the heir apparent for Schumacher at Ferrari and I expect him to give 100 percent.
As for Renault, they have a bright future with their new driver Robert Kubica. While 2009 has not shown it; Kubica is often considered to be int he top five driver in F1 and I would concur. While covered effectively by his teammate Nick Heidfeld this year, Kubica has left me disappointed slightly as I expected him to be on par with Heidfeld or beating him even though the car is a pig. Weight has been an issue for the BMW but I suspect we will see a renewed Kubica for 2010. A driver that Renault can build with and this will hopefully see a resurgent Renault and Kubica for the future.
Ultimately Renault should be proud of what they have achieved with Fernando Alonso. They are poised for a new era for the team following the much maligned scandal of Singapore 2008 involving Nelson Piquet Jr, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds. In Kubica, they just may have another shot at the world title.