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Alonso says Melbourne podium unlikely
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Fernando Alonso has slammed the brakes on swinging speculation about the form of his Formula One employer Renault.

Following a sluggish start to the 2009 pre-season and then an apparent burst of speed, the 2005 and 2006 world champion clarified that neither interpretation of the R29 single seater is right.

"First we were really bad in Portimao and then we were the best in Jerez, but it is neither one or the other," he is quoted as saying from the final group test at Barcelona.

The Spaniard said that while he is happier with the Enstone-based team's preparations this year compared to 2008, the R29 is not leading the field with two weeks to go to Melbourne.

"To be in the first six (in Australia) is almost an impossible task," Alonso said after the Brawn, Ferrari, BMW and Toyota cars led the pace on Wednesday.

"Some of those (lap) times are unattainable at the moment for us, with or without fuel. They are a step ahead of us," he admitted.

"But we are not so far away, some tenths, and if our rate of evolution is as good as it was last year, we can have good hopes."

Alonso said victory at Albert Park is unlikely.

"Even though we have done good preparations, I expect that some other teams have a small lead, for example BMW who are about two and a half months ahead of us."

"Some teams are showing incredible speed, also like Toyota and Brawn. And on Tuesday we could not have had the times of the Ferrari, the same today (Wednesday) probably with the Brawn."

"We are going well. Last year I thought I was just going to be a tourist - seeing the tracks and the cities and nothing much else, so I am more optimistic this time,"
Alonso added.

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