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Underpowered Renault given rules break
Renault has been given the green light to make changes to its V8 engine ahead of the 2009 season, in order to bring its performance more into line with the other homologated units on the grid.

The FIA announced at its previous World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in October that a period of 'engine equalization' over the winter would be allowed so to close the engine performance between the most and least powerful cars.

The issue of engine power became a thorny issue earlier in the year when Renault managing director Flavio Briatore claimed that his team had lost out since power plants had been homologated at the start of the 2007 season, as most other teams had been exploiting the loopholes that existed in the ‘freeze’ regulations.

“The problem is that us, Renault, have stuck to the letter of the current regulations on frozen engines, and we’ve been buggered,” Briatore said in July “Others didn’t do that and are far ahead, while we suffer. It’s not fair.”

However, Friday's WMSC meeting granted Renault permission to make changes to its V8 unit for next season – giving both the French manufacturer squad and customer engine team Red Bull Racing a timely boost ahead of big years for both in 2009.

“Unanimous agreement was reached on a list of proposed changes to the Renault engine for 2009; all other engines will remain unchanged,” an FIA statement said.

“Comparative testing will not be necessary.”

Renault’s permitted changes will now be made to an engine that will have to be capped at 18,000 rpm from 2009 after the FIA also announced the introduction of a new lower rev limit as part of its package of sweeping cost-cutting measures.

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