Benetton strengthens commercial departments

BENETTON has announced a couple of appointments in recent days and one of them is very significant. The team has rehired Patrizia Spinelli as head of Communication and Marketing. Spinelli is a longtime associate of Flavio Briatore who worked at Benetton throughout the 1990s. She moved to Prost after Briatore was moved out of the team but then had a spell at British American Racing before going back to Prost at the start of 2000.

The fact that Spinelli is going back to Benetton would seem to underline that Briatore is not about the moved out of the team - which will become known as Renault Sport next season. However the appointment of Carsten Schneider as Commercial Director would seem to suggest that Briatore will have less of a role in that area than was previously the case. But Briatore remains as managing-director under Renault Sport chief executive Patrick Faure and on a par with Christian Contzen, the MD of Renault Sport in France. Despite many rumors to the contrary Mike Gascoyne and Jean-Jaques His remain the technical directors in Britain and in France while Pat Symonds retains his title as Engineering Director.

It is worth noting that Contzen is now 62 years old and so the likelihood of him being given a bigger role in Britain is not great as he will be forced to retire from Renault within a couple of years.

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