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New Renault fired up

Renault has successfully fired up its new 2005 challenger for the first time at its Enstone headquarters - and the team is on course to get the car onto the track at Valencia at the end of this month prior to its launch in Monaco on February 1

New Renault fired up

The French manufacturer will be one of the last teams to launch its car but director of engineering Pat Symonds revealed at the Autosport International Show on Thursday that it was more than happy with the progress it is making with the R25.

"Developments are going very well," said Symonds, speaking on the Autosport main stage. "We fired up the new car yesterday (Wednesday) and now it is on the testing rig and we are getting some data. I think it should be testing in about 10 days time.

"But I am just happy that we will start this season with more power than we finished last year."

Although every F1 team has had to adapt to a major overhaul in technical regulations this year, aimed at slowing the cars down following a series of dramatic high-speed crashes in 2004, Symonds believes that the switch to long-life tyres and engines is not as dramatic as had been expected.

"There is a difference, but it is not perhaps as great as you might think," he explained. "There are plenty of people who race at Le Mans in June who can keep an engine going for 24 hours - it is just that it is something new for F1."

Regarding the reduction in costs that have been a motivating force behind some of the regulation changes, Symonds said there would be benefits for the teams but perhaps not as major as the sport really needs.

"It does save money, but it is not as significant as some might think," added Symonds. "The number of engines we run on the dyno far exceeds the number we run in the car, so that is a factor."

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