Benetton-Renault to unleash evo V10

Despite a disappointing showing on the stop watches in free practice for Sunday's French Grand Prix, the Benetton-Renault team is looking to make a major leap forward when the latest evolution of its so far troublesome V10 makes its debut at Magny-Cours tomorrow (Saturday)

Benetton-Renault to unleash evo V10

The Anglo-French squad has struggled badly in the first half of the season, with Renault's wide-angle V10 losing out badly in the power stakes. Indeed, paddock sources say the French unit is at least 100bhp down on the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW.

But even though drivers Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella only managed to post the 17th and 20th fastest times respectively, the team is confident that the introduction of an engine evolution and aerodynamic tweaks for qualifying will push it further up the grid.

"Today we were running with our old-spec engine and without our latest aerodynamic parts, because we were concentrating on finding a basic set-up for the cars," said engineering director Pat Symonds. "We feel that we have found a good tyre for the weekend, although we have a little way to go to balance our chassis."

Button has rarely finished a session ahead of his team mate so far this season, but professed himself pleased with his day's work - and expectant of the potential of the new engine.

"There is still stuff to work on, obviously, but for the first time this season I have managed to find a good base set-up on a Friday," he said. "The other piece of good news is that we'll be running our new engine evolution for the first time tomorrow - and I think the combination of these two factors should help me take a step forward in qualifying."

Fisichella echoed Button's sentiments, saying: "We need to find a better set-up for tomorrow (Saturday) - but I am looking forward to using the uprated engine for the first time."

Benetton has scored one point so far this year, with Fisichella taking sixth place in the Brazilian GP.

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