Benetton Formula

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Benetton Formula

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:59 am

Benetton Formula Ltd., commonly referred to simply as Benetton, was a Formula One constructor that participated from 1986 to 2001. The team was owned by the Benetton family who run a worldwide chain of clothing stores of the same name. In 2000 the team was purchased by Renault, but competed as Benetton for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. In 2002 the team became Renault F1.

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The Benetton Group entered Formula One as a sponsor company for Tyrrell in 1983, then Alfa Romeo in 1984 and 1985 and finally Toleman in 1985. Benetton Formula Ltd. was formed at the end of 1985 when the Toleman team was sold to the Benetton family. The team began with BMW engines and then later switched to Ford then Renault and finally Playlife.
The team was managed by Flavio Briatore from 1990 until 1997. In about 1991, TWR acquired a one-third stake in the team, bringing in Tom Walkinshaw and Ross Brawn to run the engineering operations. Rocco Benetton, the youngest son of Luciano Benetton joined the team as Chief Executive in 1998 and fired Briatore. He replaced him with Prodrive boss David Richards, who lasted only for a year when he too was fired, due to a disagreement with the Benetton family about future strategy. Following Richards' departure, Rocco Benetton managed the team for three years until its sale to Renault.
The Benetton team is best known for its success with Michael Schumacher, who accounts for 19 of the team's 27 career victories and their 2 drivers' championships. After switching to Renault engines, they also won the constructor's championship in 1995 with Schumacher and Johnny Herbert. After 1995, Schumacher moved to Ferrari along with Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and 11 other key figures from his two championship winning seasons with Benetton.
On 16 March 2000, the team was sold to Renault for $120 million US. As part of their restructuring, Renault brought back Flavio Briatore as team manager. The team still used the Playlife engines (although descended from Renault motors) they had been using for the last two years. The drivers were Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz. The team scored 20 points, as well as 3 podium finishes in 2000 at Brazil, Monaco and Canada.
During their final season in 2001 the drivers, Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella, were often on the back two rows of the grid. This was in part attributed to the new 111-degree wide angle engine. But continued development allowed Benetton to leave Formula 1 on something of a high, and the cars' performance lifted. Button and Fisichella scored 10 points for the team, including a podium finish for Fisichella in Belgium.



Controversy

During the 1994 season, some rival teams claimed Benetton had found a way to violate the FIA-imposed ban on electronic aids, including traction control and launch control. On investigation, the FIA discovered "start sequence" (launch control) software in the Benetton B194 cars, and a variety of illegal software in rival teams' cars as well. FIA had no evidence the software was ever used, so teams found with the software received little to no punishment. No traction control software was found to be in the Benetton cars, however. Flavio Briatore, Benetton's chief in 1994, said in 2001 that "Our only mistake was that at the time we were too young and people were suspicious".[1]
During the 1994 season Benetton removed a fuel filter from the refueling rig used during pit stops. This may have resulted in a fire that took place during Jos Verstappen's first pitstop at Hockenheim. This resulted in further inquiries by the FIA, during which, the refuelling rig manufacturer made clear that in their opinion the modification would have resulted in 10% higher flow rates than the rules allowed. Again the team went without substantial punishment.




Nationality

Benetton Team had a British licence from 1986 to 1995 and an Italian licence from 1996 to 2001,[2] thus becoming only the second constructor (after Shadow in 1976) to officially change its nationality. The Benetton family wanted this change of nationality in order to have an F1 team of their own country.[3][4][5] Benetton remains the only constructor to have achieved victory while racing under two different nationalities. The team was based in the UK throughout. Firstly at the old Toleman factory, in Witney, Oxfordshire and then in 1992 moving to a new, modern, bigger factory at Enstone.

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