Briatore backs Alonso to win 2007 title

Wed, 20 June 2007, 02:41

Fernando Alonso’s former team boss has backed the Spaniard to recover and beat Lewis Hamilton to the title in 2007.

Renault principal Flavio Briatore, who guided his ex-protege into formula one before the 25-year-old switched to McLaren this year, rejected theories that Alonso has “changed” since he became a high-earning double world champion.

“Like many drivers, he has had some difficulty adapting to a new team,” the Italian told the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

“He has gone from Michelin to Bridgestone, whereas Hamilton already knows the tyres from GP2.

“People exaggerate everything. I do not believe that Fernando has changed and I believe that he will win the championship.

“He has to be calm, to focus on himself, forget everyone else, and he will win it.”

Briatore said there was a point last year when Alonso looked surely defeated by his championship rival Michael Schumacher.

“Everybody thought it was lost,” he said, “but we proved that it was not. So for him to do it again he has to do what he did again — to think about his work in the car and not get distracted by outside pressures.

“He does not have to read the English press, nor the press of his own country.

“But I don’t believe the British journalists are going to do him any harm. That is not the problem.”

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