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   Friday, 10 January, 2003, 13:55 GMT
Briatore defends test decision
A Renault car during testing
Renault can only do 10 days private testing
Renault boss Flavio Briatore inisists his team will receive "many benefits" after opting to take part in the extra two-hour test session at races next year.

In order to qualify for the extra session, Renault will only be allowed to do 10 days private testing during the season.

The move is a surprise, as the bigger manufacturer-backed teams were all expected to steer clear of the session, as it dramatically limits a team's on-track test time.

The downside can be that some of the longer-term development projects are more difficult

Flavio Briatore
Renault team boss
Some insiders believe that Renault will benefit from the decision early on in the season because it will give them more track time at race weekends, but that they will suffer later on.

But Briatore believes Renault have made the right decision to opt for the extra session.

"There are many benefits," he said, "but the prime one is that we can give our drivers and engineers more time to 'dial in' to the circuit we are racing on.

"This has particular benefits on the circuits we cannot test on. It should also be of particular help to Fernando, who still has limited experience."

But Briatore admitted that there were negatives associated with the decision.

"You can't have your cake and eat it too," he said.

"The downside can be that as the total number of testing kilometres is limited, some of the longer-term development projects are more difficult, although not impossible, to organise."

Renault's new test and reserve driver, Allan McNish will do the work in the new sessions, setting up the car and evaluating tyres for race drivers Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso.

Minardi and Jordan are understood to be the two other teams who have signed up for the additional practice session.

See also:

09 Jan 03 | Formula One
18 Sep 02 | Formula One
20 Jul 02 | Formula One
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