Apr.21 (GMM) Fernando Alonso has contradicted Renault boss Flavio Briatore's recent claim that the Spaniard will be in contention for a podium at his home grand prix at Barcelona this weekend.
After a difficult start to the season with the new R28 car, Briatore optimistically declared at Bahrain that revisions for the Spanish race would prove a "giant leap" in pace."I am sure that we will be fighting to be on the podium in Barcelona," he said.After trying the updated car at the Circuit de Catalunya last week, however, Alonso declared that he is not expecting to be amongst the frontrunners in Spain."We started off the season badly, and in formula one it is difficult to regain lost ground in a short time," the 26-year-old told Catalunya Radio."We will try, of course, to improve in every way possible to get closer to the best ones," he added.But Alonso admitted that he is not expecting front-running performance from his single seater for the entire 2008 season."A podium would be a surprise," he added. "Last year, I would say a victory was more likely than a podium now."Alonso is still dropping hints that he fully intends to return to winning ways next year -- with or without Renault."I have to make the best of it and try to keep the top teams having confidence in me," he tactfully said.Alonso insists that his immediate goal is to improve Renault's form and work towards having a competitive car for next year."We need to improve within Renault so that I have the opportunity to have a good car for the coming season," he said.