Tag Archives: Benneton

Verstappen “convinced” Schumacher used driver aids in 1994

Jos Verstappen claims that Schumacher cheated en route to his first title

Jos Verstappen claims that Schumacher cheated en route to his first title

Former F1 driver Jos Verstappen has re-ignited the controversy over Michael Schumacher’s 1994 title success, after claiming that the German used illegal electronic driver aids.

In 1994, the FIA found that Schumacher’s Benneton did indeed contain illegal launch control protocol, which heavily assists a driver from a standing start on the grid. The software was hidden behind an ominously named “Option 13″ setting.

However, the sporting organisation was unable to prove that the Benneton actually used this software, although the 1994 French Grand Prix start suggests otherwise.

Now, Verstappen – Schumacher’s teammate in 1994 – has restarted this debate. In an interview with Dutch sports magazine NUsport, he said :

"I know what happened when we were together at Benetton. People think that I’m 
looking for excuses, but I know that his car was different from mine. I always 
thought it was impossible. I braked at the limit and I went into the corners as 
hard as it was possible. So how could Schumacher have done it? There was something 
wrong.

There were electronic driver aids. It was never mentioned, but I am convinced. I 
know enough now. Like everyone else, Michael is dependent on his car. For most 
people he was a god but he is not superman – in a kart he never beat me.

They [Benneton] will never admit it, but I am convinced. I later asked Flavio 
Briatore, who had brought me to Benetton and was then the team manager. He said, 
"Let's not talk about it." I know enough."

In 1994, Benneton were also embroiled in other controversies, such as illegaly removing a safety filter from their fuel rigs, speeding up pit stops. However, this also resulted in slightly fiery results, as Verstappen found out in Germany that year, as leaked fuel ignited and set his car ablaze.

Here is footage from the controversial start in France 1994:

Fisichella to join Le Mans Series

Giancarlo Fisichella

Giancarlo Fisichella

It has been announced that Giancarlo Fisichella will race in the Le Mans Series this year, effectively ending his F1 career.

After spending last year with Force India, Fisi got the team its first ever podium. He moved to Ferrari to replace Luca Badoer for the last few races, but failed to score a point. Ferrari announced that Giancarlo was to be their reserve driver for 2010, but Fisichella did not want this, so he has moved on.

It is unknown what category he will be racing in. However, Maserati, Ferrari’s sister team, races in GT2 and GT1 respectively.

I’ll be honest, I’m really sad to see him go. His reputation was damaged after 2 poor years with Renault in 2005 and 2006, but I’ll always remember him as the hero who drove the terrible Jordan EJ13 to victory, in horrible weather, in Brazil 2003. Also, his well deserved 2nd place in Belgium last year was something special.

Since joining Formula 1 in 1996, he has always had a reputation of being brilliant in terrible cars, and poor in great cars. However, it’s bad to just look at the Renault years here. As well as Jordan and Force India, he endured many poor years at Benneton, and one at Minardi.

I’ll write more on this tomorrow.

Williams team change tyres in less than 3 seconds

A Williams pit stop in 2009

A Williams pit stop in 2009

Because of the refuelling ban in place for 2010, incredibly fast pit stops are going to be in place. The Williams team appear to have set the standard, by changing all sets of tyres in less than 3 seconds.

On their official Twitter feed, Claire Williams, the team’s media manager, posted:

“More pit stop practice on the agenda today, the guys have made it into the sub-three second range to change a set of tyres!”

However, it wasn’t all practise. Nico Hulkenberg had a go at using the front jack, as part of the team’s pit stops.

The fastest F1 pit stop ever was set by Benneton on Ricardo Patrese’s car, at the 1993 Belgian Grand Prix- which was 3.2 seconds. Clearly, that record will be completely smashed this year.

Obviously, the other teams will be practising as well. It will be hugely interesting to see how quick the times can go this year.

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