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1989 Brazilian Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1989 Brazilian Grand Prix
Race 1 of 16 in the 1989 Formula One World Championship
Autódromo de Jacarepaguá 1978-1995.png
Race details
Date 26 March 1989
Official name XVIII Grande Prêmio do Brasil
Location Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet
Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.031 km (3.126 miles)
Distance 61 laps, 306.891 km (190.693 miles)
Weather Very hot, dry, sunny
Pole position
Driver McLaren-Honda
Time 1:25.302
Fastest lap
Driver Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault
Time 1:32.507 on lap 47
First Ferrari
Second McLaren-Honda
Third March-Judd
Lap leaders

The 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro on 26 March 1989. It was the first race of the 1989 Formula One World Championship.

The 61-lap race was won by Englishman Nigel Mansell, driving a Ferrari, with Frenchman Alain Prost second in a McLaren-Honda and local driver Maurício Gugelmin third in a March-Judd. It was the first time that a car with a semi-automatic gearbox won the race. Mansell had joked that he had booked an early flight home as he did not expect to win, and during the podium ceremony he cut his hand whilst lifting the trophy.[1]

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Pre-qualifying report

Several teams were required to participate in the Friday morning pre-qualifying sessions during 1989, in order to reduce the field to thirty cars for the main qualifying sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday. At the midway point of the season, the pre-qualifying group was to be reassessed, with the more successful, points-scoring teams being allowed to avoid pre-qualifying, and unsuccessful teams being required to pre-qualify from mid-season onwards.

At this first Grand Prix of 1989 in Brazil, five cars were allowed to progress. The AGS team had expanded from one car to two, and their first car, to be driven by Philippe Streiff, was not required to pre-qualify. However, the Frenchman had been paralysed in a midweek testing crash at the circuit, which ended his career. He was not replaced for the Grand Prix weekend, allowing an extra car to progress from the pre-qualifying session.

The FIRST team withdrew before the event, as the car had failed a mandatory FIA pre-season crash test. This left thirteen cars participating in the session. They included the two Brabhams, as the team had not participated in 1988, and the new Onyx team with their two-car entry. Also included were the two Zakspeeds and the two Osellas. This left five other cars: the sole single-car entry from EuroBrun, and the second cars of the four teams expanding from one car to two for 1989, namely AGS, Coloni, Dallara and Rial.

During the session, the two Brabhams of Martin Brundle and Stefano Modena were considerably faster than the other entrants, securing a comfortable 1–2. Third was the EuroBrun driven by debutant Swiss driver Gregor Foitek, and fourth was the Osella of Nicola Larini. The fortunate fifth fastest runner, who also went through to qualifying on this occasion, was Zakspeed's Bernd Schneider.[2]

Missing out in sixth was Alex Caffi in the Dallara, ahead of veteran Piercarlo Ghinzani in the other Osella. Another newcomer, German driver Volker Weidler was eighth in the Rial, with Pierre-Henri Raphanel's Coloni ninth, ahead of Joachim Winkelhock, also competing in Formula One for the first time, in the AGS. Eleventh was the second Zakspeed of Aguri Suzuki, with the Onyx drivers a little way adrift at the bottom of the time sheets, having had little time to test their new car. Stefan Johansson was faster than his Belgian team-mate Bertrand Gachot, the other driver in the session to make his Formula One debut, but was still over seven seconds slower than Brundle's time.[2]

Pre-qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 1:27.764
2 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 1:28.147 +0.383
3 33 Switzerland Gregor Foitek EuroBrun-Judd 1:29.604 +1.840
4 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 1:29.679 +1.915
5 34 West Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:30.417 +2.653
6 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:30.747 +2.983
7 18 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford 1:31.150 +3.386
8 39 West Germany Volker Weidler Rial-Ford 1:31.964 +4.200
9 32 France Pierre-Henri Raphanel Coloni-Ford 1:32.019 +4.255
10 41 West Germany Joachim Winkelhock AGS-Ford 1:32.982 +5.218
11 35 Japan Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:33.079 +5.315
12 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford 1:35.232 +7.468
13 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford 1:37.932 +10.168

Qualifying report

Ayrton Senna took pole position in qualifying ahead of Riccardo Patrese, making a record-breaking 177th appearance at a Grand Prix, and Gerhard Berger in the new Ferrari 640, which featured the first semi-automatic gearbox in Formula One. For Patrese it was actually his first front row start since he started second at the 1983 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, a gap of 81 races. On his debut for Ferrari, Berger's teammate Nigel Mansell qualified sixth. After the race Mansell joked that he was so convinced of his new car's unreliability that he had booked an early flight home.[3]

Johnny Herbert (Benetton) and Olivier Grouillard (Ligier) both qualified for their first Formula One races.

Qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Gap
1 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:26.205 1:25.302
2 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 1:26.172 7:12.732 +0.870
3 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:26.271 1:26.394 +0.969
4 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 1:27.367 1:26.459 +1.157
5 2 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 1:27.095 1:26.620 +1.318
6 27 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 1:27.249 1:26.772 +1.470
7 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1:27.525 1:27.035 +1.733
8 9 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Ford 1:27.937 1:27.408 +2.106
9 11 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd 1:28.423 1:27.437 +2.135
10 20 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Benetton-Ford 1:27.626 1:27.754 +2.324
11 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:28.394 1:27.865 +2.563
12 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 1:27.956 1:28.581 +2.654
13 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 1:29.138 1:28.274 +2.972
14 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 1:28.621 1:28.942 +3.319
15 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 1:29.005 1:29.206 +3.703
16 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 1:30.077 1:29.435 +4.133
17 38 Germany Christian Danner Rial-Ford 1:30.460 1:29.455 +4.153
18 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 1:30.443 1:29.573 +4.271
19 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 1:31.341 1:30.146 +4.844
20 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 1:32.260 1:30.255 +4.953
21 12 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd 1:30.942 1:30.375 +5.073
22 26 France Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Ford 1:30.410 1:30.666 +5.108
23 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 1:30.702 1:30.643 +5.341
24 10 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Ford 1:30.657 1:31.068 +5.355
25 34 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:32.346 1:30.861 +5.559
26 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 1:31.872 1:31.009 +5.707
27 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Lamborghini 1:32.411 1:31.260 +5.958
28 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Ford 1:34.232 1:31.376 +6.074
29 33 Switzerland Gregor Foitek EuroBrun-Judd 1:31.791 1:53.570 +6.489
30 31 Brazil Roberto Moreno Coloni-Ford 1:32.561 1:34.894 +7.259


Race report

At the start, Nicola Larini was disqualified for an illegal start. Mansell became the first man since Mario Andretti in 1971 to win on his Formula One debut for Ferrari, a feat that was not matched until Kimi Räikkönen won for Ferrari at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. It was also the first race ever to be won by a car with a semi-automatic gearbox. Mansell cut his hands on the trophy following the race.[4] He was joined on the podium by McLaren's Alain Prost and March's Maurício Gugelmin, making his first appearance on the podium. Johnny Herbert, still recovering from his horrifying Formula 3000 crash at Brands Hatch six months earlier, finished 4th on his Formula 1 debut for Benetton, 1.123 seconds behind Gugelmin and 7.748 seconds in front of teammate Alessandro Nannini who finished 6th.

The hard luck of the story of the race was Arrows driver Derek Warwick. There was a problem fitting a rear wheel during his second stop for tyres which lost him over 25 seconds. He eventually finished in fifth place, less than 18 seconds behind Mansell suggesting that the pit stop may have cost Warwick and Arrows their maiden Grand Prix victories.

Warwick's Arrows teammate Eddie Cheever collapsed after exiting his car following the collision involving the Zakspeed of Bernd Schneider that ended his race. Arrows actually had to modify Cheever's car after he failed the FIA safety check where a driver had five seconds to be able to exit their car. The new Ross Brawn designed Arrows A11 was a tight fit for the tall American and he had trouble fitting into the car before practice. Schneider, whose car carried the new Yamaha V8 engine, only got into the race after Philippe Streiff's crash and the FIA had allowed five pre-qualifiers to enter the main field instead of four. Schneider did not qualify for another race until the season's penultimate round in Japan some seven months later. His new teammate Aguri Suzuki ultimately failed to qualify for all 16 rounds of the 1989 season.

This was the last Formula One race at Jacarepaguá and in Rio de Janeiro. From 1990, the Brazilian Grand Prix would be held at a shortened Interlagos in São Paulo, the home town of Ayrton Senna, where it is today.

Race classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 27 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 61 1:38:58.744 6 9
2 2 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 61 + 7.809 5 6
3 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 61 + 9.370 12 4
4 20 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Benetton-Ford 61 + 10.493 10 3
5 9 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Ford 61 + 17.866 8 2
6 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 61 + 18.241 11 1
7 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 60 + 1 lap 18
8 12 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd 60 + 1 lap 21
9 26 France Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Ford 60 + 1 lap 22
10 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 59 + 2 laps 20
11 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 59 + 2 laps 1
12 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 58 + 3 laps 26
13 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 57 + 4 laps 15
14 38 Germany Christian Danner Rial-Ford 56 Gearbox 17
Ret 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 51 Alternator 2
Ret 10 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Ford 37 Collision 24
Ret 34 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha 36 Collision 25
Ret 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 27 Halfshaft 13
Ret 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 22 Suspension 7
Ret 11 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd 10 Fuel system 9
DSQ 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 10 Illegal start 19
Ret 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 9 Halfshaft 14
Ret 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 3 Engine 4
Ret 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 2 Chassis 16
Ret 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 0 Collision 3
Ret 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 0 Collision 23
DNQ 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Lamborghini
DNQ 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Ford
DNQ 33 Switzerland Gregor Foitek EuroBrun-Judd
DNQ 31 Brazil Roberto Moreno Coloni-Ford
DNPQ 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford
DNPQ 18 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford
DNPQ 39 Germany Volker Weidler Rial-Ford
DNPQ 32 France Pierre-Henri Raphanel Coloni-Ford
DNPQ 41 Germany Joachim Winkelhock AGS-Ford
DNPQ 35 Japan Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha
DNPQ 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford
DNPQ 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "Brazil 1989: 'Il Leone' roars to win on Ferrari debut". 8 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Walker, Murray (1989). Murray Walker's Grand Prix Year. First Formula Publishing. pp. 13–20. ISBN 1-870066-22-7.
  3. ^ Benson, Andrew (7 October 2009). "Pick your classic Brazilian Grand Prix". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Do you remember when Mansell cut his hands on the podium?". F1 Racing. No. 141. Derwent Howard. December 2008. p. 39.
  5. ^ "1989 Brazilian Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Brazil 1989 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  • Pre-qualifying results from FIA Yearbook 1989

Previous race:
1988 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1989 season
Next race:
1989 San Marino Grand Prix
Previous race:
1988 Brazilian Grand Prix
Brazilian Grand Prix Next race:
1990 Brazilian Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 19 April 2023, at 22:22
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