B188 designed by Rory Byrne was the first non-turbo powered team’s car since its debut as Toleman in 1981. In fact, Benetton was the works Ford team in 1988, which exclusively used new 3.5.L Ford DFR V8 engine, while other Ford customers in the peloton had to rely on 1987’s DFZ engine. The DFR developed 620 bhp was the most powerful atmospheric engine of the season compared with 590 bhp for the older DFZ V8. New Benetton car for 1989, the B189, was designed to take Ford’s new HBA1 V8 engine which was in constant development. The new bodywork was ready for the start of the season, but not the engine. The team was forced to use the B188 in the first six races of the season with the old DFR engine as the new motor was designed around the new car and didn’t fit in the 1988 model – the DFR was a 90° V8 while the new HB was a 75° V8. The team number one was Alessandro Nannini, and F3000 graduate Johnny Herbert was signed as his teammate. However, due to consequences of his severe crash in F3000 at Brands Hatch in 1988, Herbert’s performances could not keep up to that standard (he reportedly found it hard to press the brake pedal, which adversely affected his lap times), and with the Benetton team under new management he was dropped after failing to qualify for the Canadian Grand Prix (after having finished 5th in the previous round in Phoenix) and was replaced by McLaren’s test driver Emanuele Pirro. Pirro drove old B188 in his first two races in F1 (at Paul Ricard and Silverstone) before he received new B189 for the rest of the season. Nannini had excellent performance in the final part of the year winning Japanese Grand Prix and finishing with a fine second place in the extremely wet Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide while Pirro, in his last race for the team finished 5th for his only points of the season.
|Emmanuele Pirro||20||Benetton Formula Ltd|