Constructors Who Have Won in F1 - Benetton


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Benetton (27)

The United Colors [sic] of Benetton became a sponsor in Formula One in the 1980s, and took over the Toleman team in 1986. They had a podium in their third race with Gerhard Berger at Imola. Teo Fabi used his BMW turbo to good effect to sit on pole (but retire) at the engine circuits at the Osterreichring and at Monza. Berger was to take the win in Mexico City, and secure his move to Ferrari.

By 1987 the BMW engine had gone, and although they improved in the Constructors' Championship, there would not be the highs experienced in the previous year. Benetton took 3rd in the 1988 Constructors' race, with 7 podiums, but were dominated as much as anyone else by the McLarens. A similar year ensued in 1989, albeit they lost 3rd place to a resurgent Williams (who finished 2nd with Ferrari third). However, with Senna and Prost literally fighting for the title at Suzuka, it was Nannini's Benetton which followed the Brazilian home before his disqualification.

In 1990, Benetton took on two names which would resonate 19 years later - Flavio Briatore and Nelson Piquet! The three time World Champion and his team-mate Nannini scored consistent points in the first 14 races of the season. More idiocy from Senna in Suzuka in his deliberate and disgusting crash with Prost led to Benetton taking advantage, with Nelson Piquet taking the win from the injured Nannini's replacement, Roberto Moreno. A less deliberate accident by Senna in Adelaide led to Piquet taking the next race too! A last lap retirement in Montreal from Nigel Mansell gave Piquet the victory there, his last in F1, as Benetton were back to 4th in the Championship. Significantly, they'd poached Michael Schumacher from Jordan; his performances hastened Piquet's retirement!

Schumacher established himself in 1992 as the best thing not in a Williams for the first couple of races with three podiums from the first 4. His team-mate, Martin Brundle, also took some points and a couple of podiums. It all culminated that year in Benetton's first win in Europe, at Spa, as Michael worked the weather and the tyres to take a quite brilliant victory. They were to finish 2nd and 3rd on a couple of occasions before the season was out. Schumacher was able to take 3rd in the Championship, ahead of Senna. 1993 passed similarly, though Benetton were not as close to Senna and McLaren. As Alain Prost secured the world title in Estoril by finishing second, Schumacher took his 2nd win.

Schumacher qualified 2nd behind Ayrton Senna at the first three races of 1994. He won each of those three races, and Senna's death at Imola removed the last World Champion from the grid. Though he lost the Spanish GP from pole, he'd won 6 of the first 7 to take a commanding lead in the Championship. At this point he'd contributed 66 of Benetton's 67 points. However, a disqualification in Britain for not taking a penalty started Schumacher's woe. A retirement in Germany was offset by Damon Hill not scoring points, and he won in Hungary with sometime team-mate Jos Verstappen on the podium in 3rd. He won Spa but was disqualified for running too low, gifting Hill 10 points. Schumacher had been banned for his British indiscretions for the Italian and Portuguese Grand Prix handing Hill another 20 points. Schumacher won at Jerez from pole, but was beaten in the wet at Suzuka by Hill. Thus he was one point ahead in the Championship going to Adelaide. Without wishing to rake over the controversy, the protagonists collided and both were out. Schumi was champion.

For all that 1995 was more sedate. Schumi won the Championship by 33 points with 9 wins at Interlagos, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Magny-Cours, Hockenheim, Spa, the Nurburgring, Aida and Suzuka. With Johnny Herbert's wins at Silverstone and Monza and points elsewhere, Benetton had won their only Constructors' Championship by dint of giving Schumi a team-mate!

However, he was off to Ferrari for 1996, and soon so were Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne.
Benetton took Ferrari's drivers, Berger and Jean Alesi on board. The next two years were like 1992-3, Williams dominating and Benetton third. Their final victory came with Berger at Hockenheim. Briatore was to be sacked. From 1998, the Fisichella/Wurz years had begun!
There would be 6 podiums for Fisi in 1998-2000 as Benetton slipped to midfield obscurity. In 2000, Renault brought the team and Briatore was back for 2001. Renault ran the team but only put their name to it in 2002. So Fisi and an extremely disappointing Jenson Button soldiered on through a poor season at the back end of the grid; their sign off being Fisi's brilliant podium at Spa.
Flavio, Renault and Fernando were on the road ahead.
Sponsors taking over teams! Back in my day it would be unheard of! What kind of success can they expect with all that money that they can throw at a team!

*This does not detract from TBY's excellent article but just the general contempt for sponsors buying teams just to promote their own product.
Not to go too off topic F1Y but would you include constructors in with this comment as the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, Toyota etc, etc have and/or are only there to promote their product but, in their case, it's a motor vehicle?
Not to go too off topic F1Y but would you include constructors in with this comment as the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, Toyota etc, etc have and/or are only there to promote their product but, in their case, it's a motor vehicle?

They are all car makers. I feel F1 at its best has always been about the promotion of a automobile brand. The likes of Benetton, Red Bull and to some extent Santander has been about promoting a non motor engineering brand.

Fizzy drink and cigarette sponsors have and had their roles in promotion and funding of the sport but the teams themselves should always be of a motoring background.

You do get the privateers who try to make it big such as Jordan and Tyrell and the countless others but they were there for the love of the sport and not there to promote a completely seperate industry to F1.

Of the new teams in F1 you can argue that Lotus were 1st a fans desire to see the name back in F1 and now its a manufacturer using the sport to promote their own vehicles, Virgin do fall under the banner of the sponsor been bigger than the team but with the new ownership with Marussia they are heading more towards the Motor industry related side of funding.
While it isn't the age of the train, (unless you're Jimmy Saville), on the whole it is the age of the privateer F1 team, Red Bull, Renault?, Williams, Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, HRT, Virgin......
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