Dr Mario Theissen has dismissed suggestions that Formula 1 manufacturers who have lost out under the sport's current engine 'freeze' should be allowed to catch up again.

Renault is believed to be the team that has suffered most from the regulations - with both the R?gie's managing director Flavio Briatore and double world champion driver Fernando Alonso claiming the squad is being punished for having followed the rules to the letter, when other teams have not [see separate story - click here].

Briatore has hinted that some of Renault's rivals have taken advantage of loopholes within the regulations to make changes on the grounds of reliability and cost benefits to add performance to their frozen V8 powerplants, leaving the engine in the back of both the R28 and also Red Bull Racing's RB4 somewhat breathless by comparison.

The topic sprang to prominence when, for the first time in 2008, none of the four Renault-powered cars made it through to the final phase of qualifying for the European Grand Prix last month, whilst Scuderia Toro Rosso - whose Ferrari-powered STR3 is in essence identical to RBR's machine in all but the engine in the back of it - got both cars into the top ten for the first time this season in Valencia, and has since gone on from strength-to-strength as the parent Red Bull concern has fallen behind.

It is understood that discussions about what to do on the matter have taken place during a meeting of the Formula One Teams' Association in Singapore this week, but BMW Motorsport Director Theissen was keen to point out that the engine freeze had borne positive results in terms of reducing spending and allowing for the introduction of new technologies such as KERS.

"The gap between individual engines is not that big," the German is quoted as having said by F1SA, "but the topic has been exaggerated lately. I don't think this is a decisive factor in terms of performance.

"The downside is, if you unfreeze the engines the cost rises will resume immediately."


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