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Will Benetton's nationalism cause problems?

BENETTON'S desire to become an Italian team may have implications which the team had not previously considered. According to Article 93 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, the team is not allowed to test at a circuit where a Grand Prix is to be held - except in the country where the team holds its license. This means that, in theory, Benetton can no longer go testing at Silverstone - which is just down the road from its factory at Enstone, but will have to do all its testing at Monza instead.

This could prove to be a huge disadvantage.

Having said that, the Machiavellian Flavio Briatore will probably dream up some way of circumnavigating the regulation - although it is unlikely that he will get all the teams to agree to allow Benetton to break the rule, as his popularity among some team owners is a below zero rating.

The team may have concluded that it will learn more from constant testing at Donington Park - with occasional Monza tests - than at Silverstone. The new Benetton, incidentally, is expected to test at Donington in the third week of January, prior to its official launch in Sicily in early February.

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