The Benetton B196 was the car with which the Benetton team competed in the 1996 Formula One season. It was driven by the experienced pairing of Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, who both moved from Ferrari to replace departing 1994 and 1995 champion Michael Schumacher and his number two, Johnny Herbert.
Many thought, Benetton and Alesi included, that this could well be the Frenchman's year to seriously challenge for the title - something many had been predicting he would do since he signed for Ferrari in 1991. However, after achieving the double of Drivers' and Constructors' Championships in 1995, 1996 saw the team slip slightly from its position of eminence. The new drivers found the car difficult to drive (as it had been designed with Schumacher's unusual driving style in mind), but managed to score a series of points and podium finishes. The biggest disappointment was not winning a race for the first time since 1988, although Berger was extremely unlucky to lose the German GP when his engine failed with three laps to go. Alesi was also leading the Monaco Grand Prix when he had to retire due to mechanical failure.
The team lost second place in the Constructors' Championship at the final Grand Prix of the season, at which both drivers made mistakes. This allowed Ferrari to take the advantage.
This was the first Benetton car to race under Italian nationality.
Read more about Benetton B196: Complete Formula One Results
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