Benetton B195 - Double Formula 1 Champion in 1995
Benetton B195 was a car that won both Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles in 1995 Formula 1 World Championship.
New engine caused many changes
In 1994, Michael Schumacher won the Drivers’ championship with controversial Benetton B194, which is why the aspirations of the team have risen. The new car, designed by Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn, was pretty similar to its predecessor but had to meet some new rules set by FIA. Of course, the main change on the car was a new engine supplier. Benetton switched from Ford’s to Renault’s 3.0 l engine which caused several changes in the terms of engine installation, gearbox, and suspension.
The aerodynamics limitations introduced by FIA that year were the main trouble for the team. The balance of the car in the pre-season was very poor and many people were thinking that B195 wasn’t as good as the Williams FW17 which was powered by the same engine but looked more reliable than Benetton’s car.
Controversial start of the season
However, Schumacher once again was battling against Damon Hill and again managed to end the season as a winner. Johnny Herbert was a good support to the German driver and played an important role in team’s effort to win the Constructors’ championship.
The season started in Brazil where Michael Schumacher won the race starting from the 2nd place but after a few hours, he was disqualified from the race because the fuel sample from the car didn’t match the one taken after qualifying. The team complained and after one month, Schumacher was again proclaimed the winner but the points weren’t returned to the team.
Schumacher scored two wins in a row
The following two races weren’t particularly successful for the team. Schumacher finished 3rd in Argentina, while Herbert was 4th. At Imola, Schumacher retired after an accident on lap 10 and his teammate didn’t score any points.
The things looked much better after the following two Grand Prix. Michael triumphed in Spain, while Johnny was 2nd which was the only 1-2 finish for Benetton B195. German driver won the next race, the Grand Prix of Monaco and after the fifth race of the season, he topped the standings, five points ahead of Hill. In the Constructors’ championship, Benetton was four points ahead of Williams.
Maiden victory for Herbert
The Canadian Grand Prix wasn’t so successful for the team. Schumacher finished 5th, while Herbert retired. In the French Grand Prix, the reigning champion scored his fourth win of the year but Johnnie retired. The following race was the British Grand Prix and the drivers of Benetton B195 switched their roles. Herbert won for the first time in his career but Schumi retired on lap 45 after a collision with Hill.
German driver recovered in front of his fans at Hockenheim where he won for the fifth time in 1995 while Herbert with the 4th place earned some valuable points for the team. Benetton was 18 points clear of Williams in the Constructors’ championship after the first half of the season, while Schumacher’s advantage to Hill was 21 points.
Ups and downs
In the next four races, the results were variable. Schumacher managed to take only the 11th place in Hungary, but Herbert did better and finished 4th. In Belgium, Schumi was the winner but this time his teammate was without points. At Monza, Schumacher retired for the third time in the season but Herbert surprised everyone by winning the race, while in Portugal again only one driver was able to pick the points, and it was Schumacher who finished 2nd.
With four races remaining, Schumacher still had a comfortable 17 points lead to Hill, while the team was 12 points ahead of Williams. Many people were expecting a dramatic finish of the season but Schumacher didn’t allow that to happen.
Brilliant end of the season
German driver confirmed his supremacy in the next three races, at Nurburgring, Okayama, and Suzuka. He won each race and in the Pacific Grand Prix at Okayama, he clinched the title after raising his advantage to 23 points. Herbert also did well in each race by scoring a lot of points. His 3rd place at Suzuka confirmed Constructors’ championship title for Benetton.
The final race of the season was the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide Street Circuit. Both Benetton B195 drivers failed to finish the race. Schumacher retired on lap 25 after collision and Herbert finished the race on lap 69 due to gearbox failure.
What do the numbers say?
Benetton won both titles relatively easy even though some numbers weren’t so impressive. The team won 11 out of 17 races and a total of 15 podiums. The Benetton B195’s drivers started from pole position in just four races and scored a total of eight fastest laps.
That car was the last one that won any title for Benetton team. In the meantime, Renault bought the team. Until 2002, Benetton cars scored only one race win, by Gerhard Berger in 1997, and that’s why Benetton B195 has a special place in the history.
Benetton B195 technical specifications
Chassis: Carbon fiber monocoque
Suspension (front and rear): Double wishbone, pushrod
Engine: Renault RS7, 67º V10, 3.000 cc, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted, naturally aspirated
Transmission: Transverse 6-speed semi-automatic
Wheelbase: 2.880 mm
Front track: 1.690 mm
Rear track: 1.618 mm
Brakes: Carbone industries with Brembo calipers
Electronics: Magnetti Marelli