Effectively the Ford works team, Benetton would enjoy exclusive use of the new DFR V8 engine, built to compete with the upcoming engines being built by Honda and others ready for the 1989 season. Mounted in the neat new B188 chassis from Rory Byrne, the engine would be the most powerful of the normally-aspirated engines on the grid. The B188 was outwardly similar to its predecessor but featured unusual air intakes mounted at the junction of sidepod and monococque. It was also rumoured to have the biggest fuel tank on the grid. Teo Fabi was replaced by Alessandro Nannini.
19. Thierry Boutsen
The Belgian had become something of a paddock favourite over the last few years, combining talent and speed on the track with a pleasant, ego-free personality off it. He had been evenly matched by Teo Fabi in 1987 on paper, but frequently felt more likely to make waves, if only his machinery had not let him down.
20. Alessandro Nannini
Nannini had spent the last two years labouring in the Minardi, showcasing his undoubted talent despite only recording 5 finishes over the two seasons. Nonetheless, Ferrari were rumoured to be sniffing around him, but in the end it was Benetton who captured his signature. Nannini would be keen to show that he could mix it at the front as well as at the back.