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August 27, 2009

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Renault mulls KERS boost for Monza

RENAULT could revive its KERS energy recovery system for next month's Italian Grand Prix after dropping it since the early part of the Formula One season, technical director Bob Bell said yesterday.

"We're always adding new developments and for the next couple of races we'll be using a low downforce package on the car," he said in a team preview for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

"As for KERS, we don't plan to use it in Spa, but we're considering it for Monza as we believe it will provide a real advantage there."

The Italian race at Monza, the fastest track on the calendar with long straights and quick corners, is on September 13.

World champion Lewis Hamilton's win in Hungary for McLaren last month is so far the only victory by a car equipped with the system that harnesses heat energy from the brakes and gives drivers a brief boost of power at the push of a button.

Only McLaren and Ferrari are currently using KERS, which made its race debut only this year, with teams agreeing to drop the system in 2010 as part of a package of cost-cutting measures.

Bell said Renault, which is seventh overall and without a podium finish so far this year, was stretching its resources to the limit by continuing to develop the R29 car while also working on next year's.

Meanwhile, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have an immediate chance to hit back at Formula One leader Jenson Button in Belgium after drawing a blank in Spain last weekend.

The fast and flowing Spa-Francorchamps circuit is a complete contrast to Valencia, with sweeping corners and far cooler temperatures, and the Red Bull duo should feel much more in their element.

"Spa should suit our car much better so I think we should be better prepared," team boss Christian Horner said after a disappointing European Grand Prix that he defined as "hopefully a blip".

"I think there is still very much all to play for," he added.

Button, winner of six of the first seven races of the season, finished only seventh on Sunday in a race won by Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello.

The Briton has now scored only 11 points in his last four starts and his performances suggest he is feeling the pressure as the championship enters the decisive phase.

Barrichello is 18 points adrift with six races left while Australian Webber is a further 2.5 back with German Vettel another 4.5 behind.


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