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Renault set for powerful start to season

Alan Baldwin | January 14, 2005 11:09 IST

Renault will start the Formula One season with a more powerful engine than last year despite rule changes to slow cars down, according to engineering head Pat Symonds.

"For the second year running we are going to be starting the season with more power than we finished the previous season," he said at the Autosport International show on Thursday.

The new rules will force teams to use engines for two races in a row, twice the distance of 2004, and will reward reliability above all.

Symonds said Renault, third overall last season, were on track with their preparations for a championship challenge. The new car is due to be unveiled in Monaco on February 1.

"We fired up our new car yesterday. It all looks good. It's on test rigs at the moment and we're getting some basic data and checks before we go off testing in about 10 days time.

"The engine has progressed very well indeed.

"There are plenty of people who take their racing engines to Le Mans in June and they run around for 24 hours. There is nothing new about long-life engines.

"It does save money, though perhaps not as significantly as some people might think. The number of engines that we run on the dynamometer for development far exceeds the number we ever put in cars."

BRAINY SCHUMACHER

Symonds said the new tyre rules, with drivers having to qualify and race on the same set, would make racing more interesting.

"The drivers are going to have to make their tyres last," he said. "One of the things that was wrong with racing up to the end of last season was that ...the result of the race was determined after the last pitstop and really nothing happened after that. Now I believe that's going to change.

"I think the guy who has pushed hard and used his tyres compared to the guy whose used his brain, I think the brainy guy's going to be able to overtake in that last stint."

There was however some bad news for those longing for a winner other than Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who took 13 victories last year on his way to a record seventh championship.

"I think there's a lot of life in him yet," said Symonds, who worked with the German when he won titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995.

"I said earlier that it is going to be the intelligent guy who wins races this year...well, the most intelligent guy out there is Michael."


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