The Benetton B194 is a controversial car, it had a lot of, to put it kindly, trick technology on it, but underneath it was still an incredibly fast car. The first championship-winning car from Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds was hindered by the fact that it was powered by a sluggish and extremely heavy Ford V8, an engine based on the design that replaced the DFV in 1989. Yes, it had a trick refueler that could also be called illegal and yes it may well have had traction control, but the B194 was truly the class of the field, showcased by the fact that Schumacher won the championship despite being personally banned from two races and disqualified from two more. A rotating set of team-mates next to Schumacher failed to really step up to support the German, meaning the Constructors’ crown went to Williams, but Schumacher won six of the first seven races and never finished lower than third when he reached the end of a Grand Prix.
Controversy at the final race of the season cannot detract from how good a car the 194 was, the following B195 might have won more races, but it was blessed with the class-leading Renault V10 engine, and was heavily criticised by Schumacher as being difficult to drive. The Williams FW17 was the better car, but Hill and Coulthard’s issues meant Schumacher walked to a second title. The B194 on the other hand was the class of the field, even after the FIA had completed its investigations into the, how shall we put it, more underhand technology on the car.
A 1990s motorsport fan? Read: The history of F1: the 1990s.