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Alonso aims for third F1 title

January 20, 2009 14:25 IST

Fernando Alonso is aiming to silence speculation that his heart is set on a move to Ferrari by winning a third Formula One title with Renault this season.

"There is only one target for this 2009 championship: winning the drivers' championship and winning the constructors'," the Spaniard said at the launch of the team's new R29 car at the Algarve Motor Park circuit on Monday.

"All the results that we have from the wind tunnel ... everything is maybe more optimistic than we expected. The results are better than we predicted so everybody is quite motivated," he told reporters.

"Hopefully for the first race we are able to be fighting for the podium at least."

Alonso, champion in 2005 and 2006, won two races last year and took more points than any other driver in the last six grands prix as Renault roared back from a disappointing start to the season.

However, the Spaniard has been dogged by constant talk of a move to Ferrari, with Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reporting last month that he had a secret agreement to join the Italian team for four years from 2011.

Ferrari, who have 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Brazilian Felipe Massa under contract to the end of 2010, have played down the reports.

"I have been answering this question for four or five years," Alonso said when asked again about Ferrari.

"Hopefully this year I can be more relaxed about this question.

"If we are winning races and fighting for the championship, maybe we forget Ferrari and that is my aim. I am really concentrating on this 2009 season and I am more motivated than ever," he added.

"I am better prepared, physically and mentally than ever and with all these changes I am really looking forward to sitting in the car on Wednesday and starting in Australia (on March 29)," said Alonso.

"If we don't win the championship, it will be a disappointment this season."

This year brings a return to slick tyres as well as significant rule changes, with revised aerodynamics and the introduction of the KERS system to harness power generated under braking.

Alonso said he was no great fan of KERS, even though he had slimmed down (by "eating less crisps") to compensate for the extra weight of the system.

The Spaniard, now one of three champions on the starting grid, expected incumbent Lewis Hamilton to be an even stronger rival this season.

The Briton, who was Alonso's team mate in a stressful year for the Spaniard at McLaren in 2007, became the youngest world champion last year at the age of 23.

"When you win the championship, you will be Formula One world champion forever," Alonso said when asked about the pressure Hamilton might feel. "Now you can enjoy more the racing. You can enjoy races.

"You can have a mistake in a race and you know the championship is very long and there are many races to recover. When you are waiting for your first championship there is a little bit more stress.

"Once you have it, the race is less pressure."

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