Benetton protests Jacques

THE Benetton team protested Jacques Villeneuve's Williams-Renault after the French-Canadian's dominant victory at the British GP, claiming that a front wing endplate was illegal.

The FIA stewards listened to all parties involved and it was not until the early evening that they decided that as the endplates in question had been on the Williams cars all season and had not previously been protested, and as the FIA Technical Delegate Charlie Whiting says that he considers them to be legal, that Benetton did not have a case. The protest was rejected and the protest fee forfeited.

Benetton declined to appeal the decision - which the team could have done - because to do so would have risked punitive fines if the FIA Court of Appeal considered the appeal to be frivolous. Given the clear decision of the stewards any appeal would probably have failed.

There were suggestions in the paddock, incidentally, that Benetton was not in fact behind the protest but was acting on behalf of Ferrari.

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