Benetton falls into bed with Fondmetal

BENETTON FORMULA has just announced a new relationship with aerodynamics company Fondmetal Technologies. The partnership is to last for the next three years - which will give Benetton sufficient time to build its own windtunnel at Enstone.

Fondmetal Technologies owns and operates one of only four half-scale rolling-road windtunnels in the world - and the only such facility in Europe which is not being used by one of Benetton's rivals. Williams has its own 50% tunnel while Ferrari shares a 50% tunnel at Filton in Bristol, England with British Aerospace. The only other tunnel of the same quality is the Swift facility at San Clemente, California - which was used recently by Williams when the Didcot tunnel was out of action.

The Casumaro tunnel - near Ferrara - was built by the Govoni company to attract F1 teams. It was used by Ferrari and Minardi, but Govoni then ran into financial difficulties and was bought, at the end of 1993, by Italian wheel manufacturer and former F1 team owner Gabriele Rumi and former Ferrari aerodynamicist Jean-Claude Migeot. They concluded a three-year research & development contract with Tyrrell, lokcx2but that lasted only two years because of the failure of the 023 chassis - on which Migeot worked.

The Frenchman is undoubtedly a very clever engineer - he introduced the raised nose to F1 with the Tyrrell 019 in 1989 - but he has had several failures as well, notably the "double-floor" Ferrari F92A, which resulted in his departure from Maranello in mid-1993.

Migeot will work with Benetton's Special Projects Engineer Nick Wirth while Benetton model makers will be able to hone their skills with 50% models in preparation for a similar tunnel being built at Enstone.

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