ALONSO FEARS BRIDGESTONE REVIVAL
World champion Fernando Alonso fears that the Bridgestone teams could leave the likes of Renault and McLaren trailing in 2006.
Toyota and Williams have joined Ferrari on Bridgestone’s books this year, and the return of tyre changes in races is expected to favour the Japanese company’s designs.
Alonso admits to being spooked by the impressive pace that Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari set during testing at Jerez earlier this week.
According to autosport.com, Alonso told reporters in Spain: “It looks like Bridgestone is in very good shape and I’m afraid they could have another season like two years ago and dominate the way they did.
“I hope Michelin does something to avoid that.”
The Bridgestone-shod Ferraris blitzed the 2004 season, winning 15 out of 18 races.
Alonso was speaking after testing Renault’s new R26 chassis for the first time.
He had to delay his first run slightly after suffering muscle pain before heading out of the pits.
Once on track, he set the third quickest time of the day, and was the best of the V8 runners.
“The good news for me is that the new car was still easy to drive, it was consistent when we did some longer runs, and we didn’t have any mechanical problems today,” said Alonso.
Renault was the last manufacturer to run its V8 on track, preferring to test with a detuned V10 before Christmas.
Some thought that was a risky tactic, but Alonso reckons that the V8’s strong early performance has vindicated Renault’s strategy.
“We didn’t have any problems, and the feeling was similar to the simulation we have been running this winter,” he said.
“That was good because it means we have already prepared well in our testing.”