Benetton Ford B191
Active: 28-04-1991 - 1991
Team: Benetton Formula Ltd
Drivers: Nelson Piquet (20), Roberto Moreno (19), Michael Schumacher (19)
Designers: John Barnard (TD), Gordon Kimball (TD), Mike Coughlan (CD), Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne
Back in 1989, Luciano Benetton invited Flavio Briatore to take over at Benetton racing. Luciano had been impressed by the success that Briatore had had setting up a chain of shops in America. Despite having no experience with motorsport, Briatore only needed two years to make sure the team progressed repidly. On the technical side, he managed to get Tom Walkinshaw aboard with TWR. Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn followed and joined Benetton. On top of that, Flavio secured the coup of the century by signing the impressive youngster Michael Schumacher. Having just competed the 1991 Belgian GP for Jordan, Briatore was so eager to sign the German that a contract was signed in just a week.
The Benetton B191 was late being produced and development ran in parallel with the first few races of the 1991 season. The B190B was used at the first two rounds with the B191 making its race debut at round three, the San Marino Grand Prix. Normally this would not be a recipe for success but the B191 was competitive straight out of the box, and Nelson Piquet sensationally won the Canadian Grand Prix, the fifth race of the season. John Barnard headed the B191 design but he left the team in the middle of the season. TWR acquired an interest in the team at this time and Ton Walkinshaw moved some of his personnel to the team. These included Ross Brawn, while Rory Byrne returned after a brief absence.
The B191 was built around a brand new monocoque. Pushrod suspension was used all round (the active system was not raced), an under-nose front wing was used and power came from the Cosworth Ford HB pushing out 730bhp and driving through Benetton’s six speed gearbox. As well as the Canadian victory, Nelson Piquet went on to score points in five more races driving the B191: 5th at the British Grand Prix, 3rd in Belgium, 6th in Italy, 5th in Portugal and 4th in Australia. Piquet’s team mate Roberto Moreno had scored 8 points by the time of the Italian Grand Prix on September 8th and was stunned when an announcement was made a couple of days prior to first practice at Monza, that he was to be replaced by Michael Schumacher, who was leaving Jordan to join the Benetton team. Moreno had finished fourth in the previous race at Belgium coming in behind the two McLarens and his teammate and setting the fastest lap of the race.
The Schumacher switch caused an absolute furore in the F1 paddock. The Benetton B191 chassis number 05 was the start to the stratospheric journey of one of the world’s most successful sportsmen of all time and it was at Monza on 8th September driving Benetton B191 chassis number 05 that Michael Schumacher took his first world championship points, finishing in fifth place the rest is in those history books. Respected, and regarded as a thoroughly nice chap by those who know him well, Michael Schumacher is the most accomplished racing driver that has ever lived. He has re-written the record books, becoming, and the winner of the most Grand-Prix’ ever.
Fuel System: Fuel Cell by ATL
Electronics: PI System 2
Type: Benetton designed and built monocoque, carbon fibre
Front Suspension: pushrod
Rear Suspension: pushrod
Brakes: Brembo carbon brakes
Steering Wheel: Momo
Fuel & oil: Mobil
Track front/rear: 1818mm / 1920mm
Gearbox: Benetton 6 speed, controlled with an H-pattern shifter
Designation: Ford HB
Displacement: 3484 cc
Horsepower: 730 bhp @ 13500 rpm
Cylinder configuration: V8, 72°
Ignition system: Ford electronics
Fuel system: Ford electronics
Heads: aluminium alloy
Block: aluminium alloy