Giancarlo Fisichella has warned Fernando Alonso to expect his old teammate to become a fierce rival in the 2007 season.
With 33-year-old Fisichella in the sister Renault, Spaniard Alonso soared to the drivers’ championships in 2005 and 2006.
But with Alonso, 25, now headed to McLaren, Fisichella said he would consider the twice world champion as a “rival like everyone else” in 2007 and beyond.
The Roman, who is staying at Renault for a third consecutive year, also warned Alonso to not be surprised if he struggles to add to his tally of fifteen wins next year.
“Everything depends on McLaren, of course,” Fisichella told the Turin-based newspaper La Stampa.
He added: “They did not have the best car in 2006 and it is not easy to recover from a bad season.”
Fisichella also remarked that the rookie Heikki Kovalainen, Alonso’s successor, is not like F1’s other Finns including Kimi Raikkonen or Mika Hakkinen.
“He talks a lot and is quite an extrovert,” Giancarlo said, “which is completely unlike the other Finns we have known in formula one.”
Fisichella said Kovalainen is also “straightforward”, with a “good attitude”.