Tuesday November 13th, 2001
Renault will benefit from this year's testing ban to get closer to their rivals next season, according to the team's technical director Mike Gascoyne.
The Formula One teams will not be able to test their cars until the start of 2002 after the sport's governing body, the FIA, imposed a new ban aimed at reducing costs.
Gascoyne believes Renault, who will make their official return next season after taking over the Benetton team, will be able to catch up thanks to the test ban.
"We were short on engine supplies earlier in the year," Gascoyne told Autocar magazine. "Now Renault has a big chance to catch up. In the same way, the ban has enabled us to get to grips with additional aerodynamic testing for the chassis."
The Renault-powered Benetton team struggled at the start of the 2001 season, suffering from the lack of development of the radical French engine. But as the season progressed, Benetton were able to move towards the front of the field and Gascoyne is confident they will be able to keep their momentum in 2002.
"Everybody at Renault is extremely confident for the start of the new season," Gascoyne added. "I think it's accurate to judge our form by our performance at Suzuka where Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson [Button] qualified sixth and ninth."
Published at 14:29:47 GMT