Benetton Formula

Benetton
Benetton Formula logo.jpg
Full nameBenetton Formula Ltd.
BaseWitney, United Kingdom
(1986–1991)
Enstone, United Kingdom
(1992–2001)
Noted staffFlavio Briatore
Rocco Benetton
Ross Brawn
Mike Gascoyne
Nigel Stepney
Pat Symonds
Steve Matchett
David Richards
Peter Collins
Rory Byrne
Nicholas Tombazis
Pat Fry
Nick Wirth
John Barnard
Greg Field
Noted driversItaly Teo Fabi
Austria Gerhard Berger
Belgium Thierry Boutsen
Italy Alessandro Nannini
United Kingdom Johnny Herbert
Italy Emanuele Pirro
Brazil Nelson Piquet
Brazil Roberto Moreno
Germany Michael Schumacher
United Kingdom Martin Brundle
Italy Riccardo Patrese
France Jean Alesi
Austria Alexander Wurz
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
United Kingdom Jenson Button
Netherlands Jos Verstappen
Previous nameToleman Motorsport
Next nameRenault F1 Team
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1986 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races entered260
Constructors'
Championships
1 (1995)
Drivers'
Championships
2 (1994, 1995)
Race victories27
Points851.5 (861.5)[1]
Pole positions15
Fastest laps36
Final entry2001 Japanese Grand Prix

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. The Benetton Formula team was chaired by Alessandro Benetton from 1988 to 1998.[2]

History

Thierry Boutsen driving for Benetton at the 1988 Canadian Grand Prix.
Giancarlo Fisichella driving for Benetton at the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.
Benetton's last Formula One car, the B201 driven by Jenson Button.

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 Peter Collins from 1986 to 1989 and 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's 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,[3] 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 Constructors' 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.

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