Benetton F1 Team Logo

Historic

Benetton

British, Italian

  • Benetton Formula Ltd. Official Name
  • Enstone, United Kingdom Base
  • 1986 F1 Debut
  • Flavio Briatore Team Boss
  • Ross Brawn Technical Chief
  • 1 World Championships

The Benetton Formula 1 team, officially known as Benetton Formula Ltd., was a successful constructor on the grid known for its Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995.

Notable Team Members and Drivers

Flavio Briatore: A charismatic Italian businessman, his management style was often controversial but undeniably effective in making the team very successful.

Michael Schumacher: The German driver’s stint with Benetton from 1991 to 1995 was a defining period for both the team and Schumacher’s career. He won two World Championships with the team, which served as a launchpad for his legendary status in Formula 1.

Ross Brawn: As the technical director, Brawn was instrumental in the team’s mid-90s success. His technical leadership contributed significantly to Benetton’s championship-winning seasons.

The Benetton team’s entry into Formula 1 began in the 1980s, but its roots can be traced back to the Benetton family’s successful fashion business. The Italian company, founded by Luciano Benetton, ventured into Formula 1 by initially sponsoring teams, including Alfa Romeo and Tyrrell. Their interest in the sport quickly evolved from sponsorship to ownership, leading to the purchase of the Toleman team at the end of 1985.

During the 1985 season, Toleman faced significant challenges, unable to participate in the first three races and could only field a single car for the next six races due to a conflict with their tyre suppliers. Despite Teo Fabi securing a pole position for Toleman at the 1985 German Grand Prix, the team failed to earn any points throughout the season. Poor reliability was a constant issue, with a Toleman car only managing to finish a race on two occasions out of 20 entries.

The rebranded Benetton Formula team debuted in the 1986 Formula 1 season, bringing a fresh and dynamic approach to the sport, characterised by bold liveries and aggressive marketing strategies.

Under the leadership of Flavio Briatore, who took over the team management in the early 1990s, Benetton quickly rose to fame. The team’s breakthrough came in the 1994 season when it won its first Constructors’ Championship, and its driver, Michael Schumacher, clinched the Drivers’ Championship. Schumacher repeated his success in 1995, solidifying Benetton’s position as a top team in the sport. However, the team’s success during this period was marred by controversies, including allegations of cheating and rule violations.

Benetton’s performance began to fade in the late 1990s as they struggled to keep up with the dominant teams at the time. Despite this, the team remained competitive, consistently scoring points and achieving podium finishes until it was sold to Renault at the end of the 2001 season, marking the end of Benetton’s time in Formula 1.

Benetton F1 Legacy

On the track, Benetton is remembered for its time with Michael Schumacher. Off the track, Benetton’s innovative approach to marketing and branding left a lasting impact on how teams promote themselves and engage with their fans. Then, there are the controversies surrounding the team, which led to changes in regulations and how the sport is governed.

The 2001 season marked the last appearance of the Benetton name in Formula 1, as the team transitioned to the Renault F1 Team identity in 2002. Under this new guise, Renault achieved significant success, clinching the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso. The team underwent further transformations, becoming the Lotus F1 Team in 2012, reverting to Renault ownership in 2016 as the Renault Sport Formula One Team, and finally adopting the Alpine name in 2021. Despite these changes, the team’s operations continued from its Enstone base, originally established by Benetton in 1992.

Today, the Benetton team is primarily celebrated for its era with Michael Schumacher, who contributed 19 of the team’s 27 race wins and secured their two World Drivers’ Championships.

Benetton Duel Nationality

From 1986 to 1995, the Benetton Team operated under a British license before switching to an Italian license from 1996 to 2001, making it the second team in F1 history (after Shadow in 1976) to officially change its nationality.

The switch was driven by the Benetton family’s desire to see their Formula 1 team represent their home country. This change enabled Benetton to achieve a unique milestone at the 1997 German Grand Prix, where they became the only team to secure race victories under more than one nationality. Despite the change in nationality, the team’s operations remained in the UK throughout its history. It was initially set up in the old Toleman factory in Witney, Oxfordshire, and in 1992, moved to a newer, larger facility in Enstone.

Benetton Formula One World Championship Records

First entry1986 Brazillian Grand Prix
Races entered260
Constructors’ Championships1 (1995)
Drivers’ Championships2 (1994, 1995)
Race victories27
Podiums102
Points851.5
Pole positions15
Fastest laps36
Final entry2001 Japanese Grand Prix

Benetton Drivers’ Champions

The following drivers won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship for Benetton.

DriverNationalityChampionship Year
Michael SchumacherGerman1994
Michael SchumacherGerman1995

Championship Results

YearNameCarNo.DriversPointsWCC
1986Benetton FormulaB18619.
20.
Teo Fabi
Gerhard Berger
196th
1987Benetton FormulaB18719.
20.
Teo Fabi
Thierry Boutsen
285th
1988Benetton FormulaB18819.
20.
Alessandro Nannini
Thierry Boutsen
393rd
1989Benetton FormulaB188
B189
19.
20.
20.
Alessandro Nannini
Johnny Herbert
Emanuele Pirro
394th
1990Benetton FormulaB189B
B190
19.
19.
20.
Alessandro Nannini
Roberto Moreno
Nelson Piquet
713rd
1991Camel Benetton FordB190B
B191
19.
19.
20.
Roberto Moreno
Michael Schumacher
Nelson Piquet
38.54th
1992Camel Benetton FordB191B
B192
19.
20.
Michael Schumacher
Martin Brundle
913rd
1993Camel Benetton FordB193
B193B
5.
6.
Michael Schumacher
Riccardo Patrese
723rd
1994Mild Seven Benetton FordB1945.
5./6.
6.
6.
Michael Schumacher
JJ Lehto
Jos Verstappen
Johnny Herbert
1032nd
1995Mild Seven Benetton RenaultB1951.
2.
Michael Schumacher
Johnny Herbert
1371st
1996Mild Seven Benetton RenaultB1963.
4.
Jean Alesi
Gerhard Berger
683rd
1997Mild Seven Benetton RenaultB1977.
8.
8.
Jean Alesi
Gerhard Berger
Alexander Wurz
673rd
1998Mild Seven Benetton PlaylifeB1985.
6.
Giancarlo Fisichella
Alexander Wurz
335th
1999Mild Seven Benetton PlaylifeB1999.
10.
Giancarlo Fisichella
Alexander Wurz
166th
2000Mild Seven Benetton PlaylifeB20011.
12.
Giancarlo Fisichella
Alexander Wurz
204th
2001Mild Seven Benetton Renault SportB2017.
8.
Giancarlo Fisichella
Jenson Button
107th

Benetton Drivers

Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
Brazilian Benetton 1978 German Grand Prix F1 Legend
German Mercedes 1991 Belgian Grand Prix F1 Legend
British McLaren 2000 Australian Grand Prix F1 Legend

Previous/Next Team Names

Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Renault French 1977 Historic
Lotus F1 British 2012 Historic
Alpine French 2021 Current