Motor Racing: Benetton hearing switched

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(First Edition)

BENETTON will know their fate on 7 September following the pit-lane fire during last month's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The sport's governing body, FIA, decided yesterday to bring forward the hearing from the scheduled date of 19 October to an extraordinary meeting of their world council in Paris.

This follows a call on Tuesday by Niki Lauda, the former world champion, for FIA to overhaul its disciplinary rules to ensure swifter punishment for offenders. He described the original October date for the hearing as 'madness . . . by then Benetton may already be world champions. Are we to tell tham that it's all a mistake and they have to give back their titles?'

Bennetton are alleged to have broken the rules by deliberately withdrawing a filter on Jos Verstappen's car to speed up refuelling of the Dutchman's car during the German race on 31 July, causing the fireball to engulf the car.