MARCH 9, 1998
Benetton gets Playlife V10s
BENETTON announced on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix that it is to run with engines called Playlife V10s. Playlife is a BenettonĘGroup company which controls the various sporting goods which are being marketed. These include Prince, Kastle, Nordica, Killer Loop and other sports-related produce which used to be lumped together under the Benetton Sportsystem label.
The announcement means that the company is getting some extra publicity for Playlife as the team has been unable to sell the Mecachrome V10 engines to another car manufacturer. The Mecachrome engines have been designated Playlife GC37.01. The deal is expected to last until the end of 1999 although Benetton may find a new engine partner for next season. In Melbourne there were already suggestions that the Ford Motor Company is not impressed with the performance of the Stewart team and that it may decide to sign a deal with Benetton for a second supply of factory Ford V10s for next year. While this may sound harsh, there is no doubt that Ford's top management expects results and Stewart's gearbox problems have seriously dented the potential for good results this year.
In the past Ford has taken similar steps. Back in 1992 when Benetton was not delivering results, the company began to supply McLaren with identical engines in an effort to spur Benetton into action. The result was that Michael Schumacher won the 1994 title in a Benetton-Ford.
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