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Benetton retain Fisichella for 2001

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA will drive for Benetton next season after the Italian team took up their option on the highly-rated driver.

It will be the fourth consecutive season that the Italian will drive for the Chipping Norton-based team after an impressive season this year.

Fisichella lies fifth in the drivers' standings, behind chasing title contenders David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen of McLaren and Ferrari duo Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

The 27-year-old driver was delighted with the new deal and said: "I have always had a really good feeling and understanding with the team and it has been my goal to continue here.

"Now Renault has bought the team there is a strong future and everyone is working hard to get back to the top, so I'm glad of this challenge.

Benetton's managing director Flavio Briatore added: "Giancarlo has worked hard this season and produced some great results, so I believe he will be a valuable member for next season."

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