Renault Hope for Imola Boost

Renault hope to boost Italian Giancarlo Fisichella in front of his home fans at Imola this weekend

Renault Hope for Imola Boost

Fisichella could get first use of a lighter and more powerful 'B specification' engine that the Championship-leading team had not planned to introduce until the fifth round in Spain next month.

Engines must last for two successive Grands Prix under Formula One's new rules but can be changed without penalty if a driver fails to finish the previous race, as Fisichella did in Bahrain on April 3.

Rob White, Renault's engine technical director, said the team had speeded up work on the revised engine so that it could be an option in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

"The final decision on its use will depend on dyno tests and the detailed analysis of results from testing last week in Paul Ricard (Le Castellet)," he added in a team preview.

"We will not be taking any short cuts in the approval process in order to race (the) RS25B (engine) at Imola instead of Barcelona."

Both Fisichella and Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso, the Championship leader who must use the same engine he had in Bahrain, will have a new front wing as Renault strive to stay ahead of the opposition.

The team lead the Championship with 36 points to Toyota's 25 after winning three out of three races this year.

While Alonso has 26 points in the drivers' standings, Fisichella is in third place with just 10 after winning the season-opening Australian race. Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli has 16.

Fisichella, who entertained crowds in Rome on Sunday with a demonstration drive around the city's ancient Circus Maximus, said Imola would be a special weekend for him.

"I won my first Formula Three race at Imola and took my first World Championship points there with Jordan, it's not just any old circuit for me," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

The Italian expected Toyota to be strong again but also saw champions Ferrari, in a home race for them, and McLaren gathering strength.

"I think they (Ferrari) will be very, very competitive," he said in a team preview.

"We already saw that in Bahrain when Michael (Schumacher) was close to Fernando. Now that they have had to time to develop the car, for sure we will have a tough job to stay ahead."

Seven times champion Schumacher has taken just two points so far and neither Ferrari scored in Bahrain when the new F2005 was rushed into action two races ahead of schedule. Schumacher can also have a new engine for Imola.

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