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Johnny saves his drive

JOHNNY HERBERT'S victory for Benetton at Silverstone looks likely to save the Englishman's drive with the team. Throughout the weekend there were strong rumors in the F1 paddock suggesting that Johnny was to be replaced at the German Grand Prix by Benetton's test driver Jos Verstappen. The Dutchman has been out of work since Simtek Grand Prix closed its doors just after the Monaco GP.

Verstappen briefly visited Silverstone - where he was spotted wearing Benetton team gear - before flying out to Spain for an intensive testing program. Jos was due to start testing at Barcelona today with a three-day test planned before the Benetton test team heads on to Jerez de la Frontera for three more days of running, with Jos expected to be joined by MichaelĘSchumacher. But Johnny's victory at Silverstone may change all this with Benetton boss Flavio Briatore unlikely to want to be seen to be firing Herbert immediately after Johnny has won his first Grand Prix victory, thus becoming the first man to win a race as Schumacher's team mate.

All parties involved denied at Silverstone that Johnny's drive was in danger and Herbert dismissed the idea after winning the race: "I know he's out of work," said Johnny, "but I don't believe that he can do the same job that I can."

Ironically, Herbert has been fired by Briatore once before, shortly after he made a sensational debut with the team back in 1989, not long after Flavio joined the team.

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