JANUARY 15, 1996
New engineers at Benetton
BENETTON continues to add to its engineering staff at Enstone with the hiring in recent weeks of former Pacific Grand Prix technical director, Frank Coppuck.
At the same time Benetton has just lost one of its electronics engineers, Wayne Bennett leaving to join the Mercedes-Ilmor Indycar effort. Alan Permane has been promoted to replace Bennett.
Benetton continues to push ahead with its plans to build its own windtunnel at Enstone. It currently does most of its aerodynamic work at the Defense Research Agency's 40% windtunnel at Farnborough, England - renting time from TWR, which did the original deal with the British authorities. Benetton also uses the old Simtek 30% facility at Banbury. For over a year, however, the team has been planning its own tunnel, and last week there was a public meeting to discuss planning permission for the facility, which would be housed in a separate building to the existing factory.
Benetton will need a 50% rolling road windtunnel - the same as Williams and Ferrari. These are highly expensive to build and there are currently only four such facilities in the world which are effective: Williams's tunnel at Grove; the British Aerospace tunnel at Filton in Bristol, used by Ferrari; the Fondmetal facility at Casumaro in Italy and the Swift windtunnel at San Clemente in California.