The one-second F1 tech gain that made a car slower

The one-second F1 tech gain that made a car slower

For the 1999 season, the Benetton Formula 1 team made a stunning technical breakthrough that it hoped would return it to its previous glory. But although it was a major tech talking point, the device actually proved to be rather problematic

In the aftermath of a hugely-successful period in the mid-1990s, the Benetton Formula 1 team endured something of a lean period. This was after its title-winning triumvirate of Michael Schumacher, Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn all exited stage left, swayed by the lure of Ferrari.

Following their collective departures, Benetton won just one more race. Returning from the sidelines after a medically-enforced break, veteran driver Gerhard Berger grabbed a surprise victory at the old Hockenheim in 1997. Back then, the sprawling German venue tended to be something of a charity benefit concert for the most power-laden of cars, and the Renault-powered B197 was sufficiently gutsy enough to carry Berger to a lights-to-flag victory from pole.

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