Alonso to kick off 2008 campaign this week

Wed, 2 January 2008, 02:22

Fernando Alonso will get his 2008 campaign off to an early start this week when he formally begins working at Renault after a one year absence from the team.

The former double world champion is due at Renault’s UK headquarters this week, according to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS, which said December 31 officially marked the last day of McLaren’s contractual hold on him.

Another Spanish newspaper, El Pais, describes 2007 as Alonso’s ‘anno horrible’, as he now prepares to begin contributing towards the early development of the R28.

Grand prix veteran and British television commentator Martin Brundle, however, points the finger at the 26-year-old rather than McLaren, revealing to ITV that he lost some respect last year for the 2005 and 2006 drivers’ title winner.

“I almost idolised Fernando Alonso after 2005 and ’06,” he said.

Brundle says Alonso’s behaviour at McLaren therefore disappointed him, “because instead of stepping up a gear with the arrival of Lewis Hamilton, like Michael Schumacher would have done, he tried to slow the rookie down.”

He notes that Alonso has always been a difficult character, and that Flavio Briatore “managed him better” than did McLaren’s Ron Dennis, which “is probably why he’s back tracked” to Renault.

“Let’s see how it works out this time around,” Brundle added.

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