Driving in France is a big source of motivation - Alonso

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The ING Renault F1 Team prepares for the eighth round of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship: the French Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso is already looking forward to the home race of the team as it is a big source of motivation for him.

Fernando, a superb qualifying performance in Montreal allowed you to aim for the podium in the race. That must make it all the more frustrating not to finish the Grand Prix?

"It’s clear that we missed a great opportunity to score some big points in Montreal, but we must remain positive and keep moving forward. Our level of performance there showed the progress the team has made and we must now continue our efforts because we can see the rewards. I know that everybody in the team is doing their best to improve our performance, and that will pay off in the end."

You are preparing to compete in Renault’s home Grand Prix. Is it special to drive here in Magny-Cours?

"Yes, definitely. There are always lots of people associated with Renault watching the race and wearing the team’s colours, which is a big source of motivation. Also, it’s the French Grand Prix and the team is French, so I have enormous motivation to have a good weekend, and I will once again give my maximum."

In terms of the car set-up, what are the main challenges of the circuit?

"It’s a circuit where the car must perform well in all parts in order to do a good lap time. There are some quick corners and direction changes, the brakes are important and you need good acceleration. The temperature is usually quite high, so you have to find a set-up that allows you to make the most of the tyres and optimise the general balance of the car. I don’t have any specific concerns and we will work on these different points in free practice on Friday."

The team continued its development programme in Barcelona last week. What are your expectations for the eighth race of the season?

"Yes, we completed three days in Barcelona last week. It was a case of validating the latest developments on the car, especially the aerodynamic and mechanical components that we plan to use at the French Grand Prix and the coming races. That went well, the team got a lot of information and I hope that we will see more progress this weekend. That is important for the morale of the team because we still have a lot to do in order to catch up with the leaders. But I am happy and I know that whatever happens I will give my maximum to get the best from my car and to do well in the race."