The Benetton B188 was a Formula One racing car designed by Rory Byrne and raced by the Benetton team in the 1988 Formula One season and in the first half of the 1989 Formula One season.
Benetton was effectively the Ford works team as they had exclusive use of the Ford DFR V8 engine for 1988. Driven in 1988 by Belgian Thierry Boutsen and Italian Alessandro Nannini, the B188 was a consistent performer and was usually the class of the atmospheric cars. Boutsen scored 27 points, including 5 podium finishes, to claim 4th in the Drivers Championship while Nannini scored 12 points, including his first ever podium with 3rd at the British Grand Prix. Overall with the B188, Benetton finished 3rd in the constructors championship with 39 points.
The team would have in fact finished the season with 46 points but both cars were disqualified from the Belgian Grand Prix for using irregular fuel. The disqualification of the Benettons was not made official until long after the season had finished, so many published records list Boutsen and Nannini as having finished third and fourth respectively.
For 1989 Boutsen was replaced by British rookie Johnny Herbert while Nannini assumed the role of lead driver. The B188 was to be replaced by the B189 early in the season which would also see the team with exclusive use of the new development Ford HB4 V8 engine. Unfortunately due to delays including a testing crash by Nannini before the San Marino Grand Prix, the team was forced to use the B188 with the old DFR engine as the new motor was designed around the new car and didn't fit in the 1988 model.
Despite the B188 being seen by the team as obsolete being a previous years model and with other teams now running the DFR, Nannini and Herbert scored 13 points in the first six races of the season with the best being Nannini's 3rd at San Marino. Herbert, who was also recovering from a horrific Formula 3000 crash in 1988, scored points on debut in Brazil, finishing 4th, two places and 8 seconds ahead of his team mate. Despite a 5th place finish in Phoenix, it became obvious in the opening rounds that he needed more time to recover from injuries that included both legs being badly broken. He was replaced after the Canadian Grand Prix by McLaren test driver Emanuele Pirro.
Nannini debuted the B189 at the 1989 French Grand Prix while the last race for the B188 was by Pirro at the British Grand Prix. He qualified 26th and last and finished 11th.
The Ford V8 powered Benetton B188 competed in 24 races, scoring 52 points and 8 podium finishes. Nannini also scored the car's only fastest lap at the 1988 German Grand Prix at a wet Hockenheimring.