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Photo: Mike Jiggle
Photo: James Beckett
Photo: James Beckett

Benetton’s standing in F1 

Like many of today’s Formula One teams, the Benetton outfit morphed from an existing team, Toleman, then itself became Renault and today it is operating under the banner of Lotus F1. Benetton first began competing in its own right beginning in 1986 with the Benetton B186-BMW. The team’s first drivers were Teo Fabi and Gerhard Berger, with the latter giving the team its first win at the Mexican GP, the penultimate race of the year, following a season that had been dominated by the Williams and McLaren teams. Prior to competing under its own name, the Italian clothing brand Benetton had sponsored Tyrrell, Alfa Romeo and Toleman, bringing along a certain vibrancy to the outward appearance of the cars with their striking liveries. This joie de vivre embraced the team as a whole in later years with the charismatic Flavio Briatore at the helm, flamboyant car launches and disco music booming from their pit garages. Benetton portrayed a totally different speed of Formula One, way ahead of its time and with a style that, indeed, is now emulated up and down today’s F1 pit lane. During its history it courted controversy too, as well as changing the team nationality from British to Italian in 1996.

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