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|Chassis||Carbon fibre monocoque|
|Suspension (front)||Double wishbone, pushrod|
|Suspension (rear)||As front|
1989: Ford HBA1, 3,498 cc (213.5 cu in), 75° V8, NA, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted|
1989/1990: Ford HBA4, 3,498 cc (213.5 cu in), 75° V8, NA, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
|Transmission||Benetton transverse 6-speed manual|
|Notable entrants||Benetton Formula|
19. Alessandro Nannini|
20. Emanuele Pirro
20. Nelson Piquet
|Debut||1989 French Grand Prix|
The Benetton B189 was a Formula One racing car designed by Rory Byrne and raced by the Benetton team in the 1989 Formula One season. The car replaced the B188 that had been in use from the 1988 season.
The car was due to be available from the start of the season but was delayed by various problems as it was designed to take Ford's new HBA1 V8 engine which was in constant development. As the HBA1 was a 75° V8 rather than the 90° DFR engine used in the B188, this meant that it was impossible to simply slot in the old engine in order to race the new car. The B189 was also delayed as the teams lead driver Alessandro Nannini had crashed it during testing. This meant that for the first 6 rounds of the season the team was forced to use the B188 until the new car was available. While the B188 was still competitive enough to compete for podium places, the limit of the car and its older engine (which was now in ambiguous use by other Ford-Cosworth powered teams) had been reached and Benetton was beginning to lag behind the V10 McLaren-Hondas and Williams-Renaults as well as the V12 Ferraris.
The B189 finally appeared at the French Grand Prix where Nannini showed the potential of both the car and the new Ford engine by qualifying 4th ahead of the both Williams-Renaults and the Ferrari of Gerhard Berger. He then ran a strong race in the top three but retired with broken rear suspension on lap 40 that sent him spinning down the escape road at the end of the pit straight, thankfully without hitting the barriers (or Satoru Nakajima's Lotus-Judd which Nannini had been preparing to lap). A second B189 was made available from the German Grand Prix and was driven by McLaren test driver Emanuele Pirro. While still testing for McLaren, Pirro was allowed by McLaren boss Ron Dennis to also test with Benetton and he became highly regarded within the team for his testing abilities.
The B189 got its only win, and Benetton's second ever win, at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix when Nannini finished 2nd on the road but was awarded the win after McLaren's Ayrton Senna was disqualified. After using the more powerful development HBA4 V8 to qualify in 6th place, he then ran the race proven HBA1 engine to enhance reliability. He had been third for most of the race, a long way behind the more powerful McLaren-Hondas of Senna and race leader Alain Prost, before their infamous coming together at the Suzuka chicane. Pirro, at the track where he was based as the McLaren test driver, used the development engine in the race and moved quickly from his 22nd starting spot to 10th by lap 33 before being forced out due to a crash with the Dallara of fellow Italian Andrea de Cesaris at the hairpin.
Nannini then finished off the season with a fine second place in the extremely wet Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide while Pirro, in his last race for the team, managed to keep the car on the road (while many of his more experienced rivals failed to do so) and finished 5th for his only points of the season.
A modified version of the car, the B189B, raced in the first two races of the 1990 Formula One season. The car was again driven by Alessandro Nannini who was joined at Benetton by three time World Drivers' Champion Nelson Piquet. The B189B was powered by a development of the Ford HBA1 V8, the HBA4.
The B189B was replaced after the second race of the 1990 season by the B190. The B189B was the last Benetton to use the distinctive air intakes on either side of the cockpit with the B190 having a single airbox in the now standard position above the drivers head.
Ford-Cosworth's HBA V8 engine
Complete Formula One results
|1989||Benetton Formula Ltd||B189||Ford HBA1 / HBA4
|1990||Benetton Formula Ltd||B189B||Ford HBA4