Ferrari raises Silverstone power stakes

Ferrari is set to up the world title ante at this weekend's British Grand Prix when it races its powerful qualifying engine for the first time, according to this week's Autosport magazine

Ferrari raises Silverstone power stakes

Michael Schumacher leads McLaren-Mercedes driver David Coulthard by 31 points in the battle for the drivers' championship. But with Coulthard viewing Silverstone as key to re-igniting his fading title chances, the Prancing Horse is looking to kill off his challenge altogether at the race he has won for the last two years.

The evolution 050 engine has helped Schumacher to pole in two of the last three GPs, despite the fearsome challenge from BMW's benchmark V10. And now Ferrari believes the unit is reliable enough to complete a race distance.

The Italian team's latest V10 is said to develop 840bhp - 25 less than the BMW in the back of the Williams, but 20 more than Maranello's current race engine and 30 more than McLaren's Ilmor-manufactured Mercedes unit. Racing the engine could give the team an estimated 25-second advantage over the Silverstone race distance.

But despite the extra power under his right foot, Schumacher still believes McLaren and Coulthard will be a major threat at their home race.

"McLaren were strong in the race at Magny-Cours and most of the time they have only had a problem in qualifying," he said. "In the tests at Silverstone, they have always been very strong and consistent and I never thought they'd be weak. I have never written McLaren off, to be honest, and I won't do it now."

Read the full story in this week's Autosport magazine, which also includes a bumper 68-page guide to Britain's biggest motorsport event of the year - the British Grand Prix.

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