Fernando Alonso is hoping he can maintain the momentum from his Singapore success when he takes to the circuit again for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
The Renault driver profited from the safety car being deployed and Felipe Massa’s misfortune in the pits to win Formula One’s first night race last month.
That victory was Alonso’s first of an otherwise frustrating season and though the Spaniard believes McLaren and Ferrari will be difficult to be beat on Sunday, he is confident of at least putting on a good performance at the Fuji Speedway circuit.
“We worked hard to develop some new parts for Singapore, but also for the final three races of the season so I think that we can be on the pace in Fuji,” he said.
“We will give our maximum to try and make that the case and to benefit from the free practice sessions on Friday as much as possible.”
The Fuji Speedway contains a number of testing corners as well as a mile-long straight that is ideal for overtaking.
Last year heavy rain drenched the circuit making conditions difficult and visibility poor during the race.
However, although rain is forecasted for qualifying, conditions are expected to be dry by Sunday.
“The circuit has a very long straight and so aero settings will once again be crucial,” added Alonso.
“There are also several medium and low-speed corners and the last few turns in particular are taken in second gear.
“So the team will have to work hard to determine the level of downforce and the mechanical grip which will be especially important in the slow sections.
“We will be running a similar programme to that which we run at other tracks that we visit once a year.”
Renault technical director Bob Bell admitted confidence in the team is high following Alonso’s victory in Singapore but the 50-year-old insisted they were approaching the race no different to any other.
“After our result in Singapore we’re certainly approaching Fuji with optimism,” said Bell, "but we aren’t putting any new developments on the car or doing anything special in terms of preparation, other than the normal rigorous approach that we take to each circuit.
“As we saw last year, rain in that part of the world is a distinct possibility and that could play to our advantage.”