Benetton sets sights on 2002

ONE day before the launch of the new Benetton car, the team's managing director Flavio Briatore has admitted they are looking to success in 2002, with this year being more for development.

The team was taken over by Renault last year, and Briatore believes 2001 will be a year of build up before a full onslaught next year, when the team will be completely re-badged as Renault.

"It will be difficult because basically Benetton are a new team," he said on Monday ahead of Benetton's launch of their 2001 challenger in Venice on Tuesday.

"We are a team in a learning curve because we have planned to be competitive in 2002. We have a new engine and we want to be competitive by the middle of this season, although next year will be our year."

One key to success both this year and next will be the drivers, and Briatore believes the arrival of the young and talented Jenson Button will kick Giancarlo Fisichella up a gear.

He added: "We have very good drivers this year. Every team has two good drivers but we have got two of the best. Giancarlo Fisichella will benefit from Jenson Button because he will push him.

"What Jenson Button did last year was quite remarkable and he has looked good in testing and is a plus for the team."

It clearly is a long-term plan at Benetton, and it seems that if they can get it together this year, that will be a bonus. "When Renault decided to take over we knew it was going to be difficult," Briatore said.

"This will be a transitional year with new engine, drivers and tires. But we hold our own destiny and we believe we have everything to be champions in the future."

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