JANUARY 29, 2004
Brave words from Briatore
Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore reckons that the team will be serious challengers for the World Championship this year - and he hopes that the words will no come back to haunt him.
Renault won race last year with its wide-angled V10 engine and hen made the very late decision to switch to a conventional 72-degree engine, a layout which has been superseded in most teams by 90-degree engines, which offer a low centre of gravity. Renault engineers admit that the new engine was based on the architecture of the Renault V10s from the late 1990s because there was no time to do anything else and they are already working on a 90-degree V10 for 2005. This year is being seen by most people as an interim year but apparently Briatore believes otherwise.
"We will be challenging for the title along with Ferrari, Williams and McLaren," said Briatore. "This year will be much closer than previous years and in the end it will come down to the tyres. We are continuing with Michelin, Ferrari are sticking with Bridgestone - we will see in the end who made the right choice."
Briatore failed to mention that Williams and McLaren are using the same tyres.
There is a certain amount of pressure on Renault to deliver as the company will get a new chairman in 2005 and he may not be willing to be as patient as current incumbent Louis Schweitzer.
However, time will tell...
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