FEBRUARY 14, 2000
Benetton gets Message?
GORDON MESSAGE has left the Arrows team and is expected to take over the running of the Benetton team shortly. It will be something of a homecoming for the 45-year-old Englishman who first joined the organization when it was still the Toleman Formula 2 team - twenty years ago.
Message was assistant team manager to Peter Gethin and then after the team was taken over by Benetton helped the new team manager Peter Collins. When Collins departed as the result of a messy political battle with Flavio Briatore in 1989, Message was named team manager but was then edged out by the arrival of Joan Villadelprat. He left Benetton at the end of 1993 and started his own electronics business, supplying F1 teams with componentry. He was approached by Tom Walkinshaw in 1995 and asked to coordinate the establishment of a Formula 1 standard facility inside the TWR factory at Leafield. When Walkinshaw took over Arrows, Message helped Tom recruit top names in the business. He was recently put in charge of the Arrows test team.
Benetton has been looking for a new operations director since Villadelprat decided he was leaving at the end of last year. The team had talks with former Tyrrell man Rupert Manwaring but these fell through at the last minute.
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