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Damper decision makes no difference, says Alonso

Written by: Staff
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ISTANBUL, Aug 24 (Reuters) Fernando Alonso believes Renault will be more than a match for Formula One rivals Ferrari for the rest of the season despite being stripped of a performance-boosting damper device.

The world champion shrugged off an appeal court's decision to back the International Automobile Federation, the sport's governing body, and ban the 'mass damper' used by the title-winning team since September last year.

''We accept the decision, as is logical, and we try to make the best in our car,'' the 25-year-old Spaniard told reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix today.

''I think we were very competitive without it... when I drive I don't feel any big difference, I have no worries at all.

''The team is working hard to make some new parts in the front of the car.'' The system, hidden inside the nose of the car, improves race performance by levelling out tyre vibrations and keeping grip levels consistent. it is believed to be worth at least 0.3 seconds a lap.

The champions have not used the damper for the last two races, for fear of eventual disqualification should the appeal go against them, and Alonso has seen his overall lead slashed by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.

The German is now just 10 points adrift with five races remaining while Ferrari are seven behind Renault in the constructors' standings.

''For sure their (Ferrari's) package has been working really well in the last four or five races. But I think this is due to the tyre performance as well, not only the car,'' said Alonso, who led the last race in Hungary before retiring.

''I think Bridgestone made a good step forward in hot temperatures and I believe in the reaction now of (Renault's tyre partners) Michelin.

''We are working hard with them, we have made some improvements and from this race on I think we will see them,'' added the Spaniard, winner of six of the 13 races so far this year. ''I have no worries.

''I think we will be stronger than the package that Ferrari have, I think Renault and Michelin will be more competitive from now on and the last five races will suit our car and our package better than them.'' Alonso finished second in last year's inaugural Turkish Grand Prix won by McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen. Schumacher failed to finish that day.

REUTERS DH KP1937

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