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1989 Mexican Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1989 Mexican Grand Prix
Race 4 of 16 in the 1989 Formula One World Championship
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.svg
Race details
Date 28 May 1989
Official name XIII Gran Premio de México
Location Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
Magdalena Mixhuca, Mexico City
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.421 km (2.747 mi)
Distance 69 laps, 305.049 km (189.549 mi)
Weather Hot, dry, partly sunny 25°C/79°F, 40% Humidity, wind NW-10mph
Pole position
Driver McLaren-Honda
Time 1:17.876
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari
Time 1:20.420 on lap 41
First McLaren-Honda
Second Williams-Renault
Third Tyrrell-Ford
Lap leaders

The 1989 Mexican Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City on 28 May 1989. The race, contested over 69 laps, was the fourth race of the 1989 Formula One season and was won from pole position by Ayrton Senna, driving a McLaren-Honda, with Riccardo Patrese second in a Williams-Renault and Michele Alboreto third in a Tyrrell-Ford.


Pre-qualifying report

The Friday morning pre-qualifying session produced another 1–2 for the Brabham team, their third of the four Grands Prix so far. This time Martin Brundle was fastest ahead of Stefano Modena, with the Dallara of Alex Caffi pre-qualifying in third. The fourth-placed driver was Stefan Johansson in the Onyx, who went through to the main qualifying sessions for the first time this season, at the expense of his team-mate Bertrand Gachot, who was fifth fastest.

Although failing to pre-qualify, Gregor Foitek had one of his better sessions, finishing sixth fastest in the sole EuroBrun, ahead of the Osella of Nicola Larini, who suffered a fuel pump issue. Larini had been lined up to replace Gerhard Berger at Ferrari had the Austrian not been fit to return to the cockpit after his Imola accident.[1] Volker Weidler was eighth in the Rial, also one of his better performances of the season despite having gearing problems. Next were the two Zakspeeds of Bernd Schneider and Aguri Suzuki, and the other Osella, driven by Piercarlo Ghinzani. Ghinzani was excluded anyway after ignoring a weight check signal.[1][2] At the bottom of the time sheets were Joachim Winkelhock in the AGS, and lastly Pierre-Henri Raphanel, who did not post a representative lap time in the Coloni FC188B after his strong performance in the last race at Monaco. Coloni had only brought three mechanics and one car for both Raphanel and Roberto Moreno, while waiting for their new C3 to be built, making a token effort to qualify in order to comply with the regulations and avoid a fine.[1]

Pre-qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 1:21.770
2 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 1:22.211 +0.441
3 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:22.876 +1.106
4 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford 1:23.288 +1.518
5 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford 1:23.752 +1.982
6 33 Switzerland Gregor Foitek EuroBrun-Judd 1.24.351 +2.581
7 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 1:24.392 +2.622
8 39 Germany Volker Weidler Rial-Ford 1:24.966 +3.196
9 34 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:25.418 +3.648
10 35 Japan Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:25.658 +3.888
11 18 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford 1:26.065 +4.295
12 41 Germany Joachim Winkelhock AGS-Ford 1:26.754 +4.984
13 32 France Pierre-Henri Raphanel Coloni-Ford 1:34.357 +12.587

Qualifying report

In qualifying proper, World Champion Ayrton Senna scored his 33rd career pole position, equalling the long-standing record held by Jim Clark. Senna's pole time in his McLaren-Honda was 0.408 slower than his pole time in 1988 in the turbocharged McLaren MP4/4. His McLaren teammate Alain Prost was second fastest with the Ferrari 640 of Nigel Mansell third. Mansell's teammate Gerhard Berger, returning to action in Mexico after his crash at San Marino, was sixth, the Ferraris split by the March-Judd of Ivan Capelli and the Williams-Renault of Riccardo Patrese. Surprisingly, Capelli's teammate Maurício Gugelmin failed to qualify. Berger, still suffering the effects of his crash, admitted that if not for Ferrari's innovative semi-automatic transmission (which meant he did not have to change gears as with a normal stick shift), he would not have been able to race.

The back row of the grid was arguably the best credentialed and most experienced in Grand Prix history, consisting of seven-time winner René Arnoux in the Ligier-Ford and triple World Champion Nelson Piquet in the Lotus-Judd.

Qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:19.112 1:17.876
2 2 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 1:20.401 1:18.773 +0.897
3 27 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 1:21.170 1:19.137 +1.261
4 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1:24.720 1:19.337 +1.461
5 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 1:21.763 1:19.656 +1.780
6 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:21.564 1:19.835 +1.959
7 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 1:22.150 1:20.066 +2.190
8 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 1:21.456 1:20.234 +2.358
9 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 1:22.640 1:20.505 +2.629
10 9 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Ford 1:23.245 1:20.601 +2.725
11 26 France Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Ford 1:23.053 1:20.859 +2.983
12 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 1:23.066 1:20.873 +2.997
13 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:21.791 1:20.888 +3.012
14 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 1:21.561 1:20.888 +3.012
15 12 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd 1:22.438 1:20.943 +3.067
16 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 1:22.014 1:21.031 +3.155
17 40 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford 1:23.004 1:21.031 +3.155
18 20 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Benetton-Ford 1:22.553 1:21.105 +3.229
19 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:22.705 1:21.139 +3.263
20 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 1:23.375 1:21.217 +3.341
21 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford 1:23.746 1:21.358 +3.482
22 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 1:24.181 1:21.471 +3.595
23 38 Germany Christian Danner Rial-Ford 1:22.931 1:21.696 +3.820
24 10 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Ford 1:23.427 1:21.716 +3.840
25 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Ford 1:24.890 1:21.830 +3.954
26 11 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd 1:23.090 1:21.831 +3.955
27 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 1:26.567 1:21.935 +4.059
28 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 1:22.712 1:22.081 +4.205
29 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Lamborghini 1:25.651 9:27.789 +7.775
30 31 Brazil Roberto Moreno Coloni-Ford no time 3:34.095 +2:16.219


Race report

Senna chose medium compound Goodyear "B" tyres for the race while Prost went for the softer C-compound tyres in the hopes of gaining a speed advantage. Despite the pole being on the dirty side of the track in Mexico, Senna made a better start and was able to lead into the first turn from Mansell, Prost, Berger, Patrese and the Tyrrell-Ford of Michele Alboreto. However, it all meant nothing as Modena spun his Brabham into the Peraltada on the first lap and was tapped by the Ligier of Olivier Grouillard and finished against the tyre wall. Despite the car not being in a dangerous position, the red flag was shown and the race had to be restarted.

Senna won the restart and led Prost, a fast starting Berger, Mansell and the Williams pair of Patrese and Thierry Boutsen. Prost, with his softer tyres giving him better grip, soon moved onto the back of his teammate's car. However, Mexico would be where Prost started questioning the power of his Honda V10 compared to the ones used by Senna. For a number of laps Prost, clearly faster through the final Peraltada curve coming onto the main straight, could not make an impression on Senna despite being in his aerodynamic tow on the 1.2 km long main straight. Indeed, the #1 McLaren was seen to pull away from the #2 car on the straight. Running close to his teammate eventually had a detrimental effect on Prost's tyres and he was soon into the pits for a change of rubber. The McLaren team then mistakenly gave the Frenchman another set of C tyres rather than the B's he had come in for. Prost was soon back in for another tyre change and went back into the race only seconds in front of Senna who now had nearly a lap lead over his closest championship rival. Despite being on far fresher tyres than his teammate, Prost still lost ground to Senna and was eventually lapped when the Brazilian swept past on the main straight, fuelling Prost's claims that his engines were down on power compared to Senna's. McLaren team boss Ron Dennis later publicly apologised to Prost for the error in his pit stop.

Both Ferraris ran well until Berger's race ended on lap 16 with transmission failure while Mansell's gearbox lasted until lap 43. This left the Williams of Patrese in second place with Alboreto a surprising third. This was how the top three finished with Alessandro Nannini fourth in his Benetton B188. The Benetton team had hoped to have their new B189 available in Mexico, but ongoing problems with the new Ford HB engine meant the team had to continue using their 1988 car and engines. Prost, having unlapped himself, finished fifth to be the last car on the lead lap, while Italian Gabriele Tarquini scored the final point for sixth in his AGS-Ford, which proved to be his only point in Formula One.[3]

Race classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 69 1:35:21.431 1 9
2 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 69 + 15.560 5 6
3 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 69 + 31.254 7 4
4 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 69 + 45.495 13 3
5 2 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 69 + 56.113 2 2
6 40 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford 68 + 1 lap 17 1
7 10 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Ford 68 + 1 lap 24
8 26 France Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Ford 68 + 1 lap 11
9 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 68 + 1 lap 20
10 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 68 + 1 lap 9
11 11 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd 68 + 1 lap 26
12 38 Germany Christian Danner Rial-Ford 67 + 2 laps 23
13 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 67 + 2 laps 19
14 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Ford 66 + 3 laps 25
15 20 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Benetton-Ford 66 + 3 laps 18
Ret 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 53 Engine 22
Ret 27 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 43 Gearbox 3
Ret 9 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Ford 35 Electrical 10
Ret 12 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd 35 Spun off 15
NC 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 28 + 41 laps 16
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 20 Suspension 12
Ret 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 16 Gearbox 6
Ret 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford 16 Transmission 21
Ret 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 15 Electrical 8
Ret 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 9 Throttle linkage 14
Ret 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1 Transmission 4
DNQ 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford
DNQ 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd
DNQ 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Lamborghini
DNQ 31 Brazil Roberto Moreno Coloni-Ford
DNPQ 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford
DNPQ 33 Switzerland Gregor Foitek EuroBrun-Judd
DNPQ 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford
DNPQ 39 Germany Volker Weidler Rial-Ford
DNPQ 34 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha
DNPQ 35 Japan Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha
DNPQ 18 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford
DNPQ 41 Germany Joachim Winkelhock AGS-Ford
DNPQ 32 France Pierre-Henri Raphanel Coloni-Ford

Championship standings after the race

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


  1. ^ a b c Walker, Murray (1989). Murray Walker's Grand Prix Year. First Formula Publishing. p. 37–44. ISBN 1 870066 22 7.
  2. ^ "1989 Mexican Grand Prix". Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  3. ^ Roebuck, Nigel; Henry, Alan (1989). Naismith, Barry (ed.). "Round 4:Mexico Making It Look Easy". Grand Prix. Glen Waverly, Victoria: Garry Sparke & Associates. 5: 54. ISBN 0-908081-99-5.
  4. ^ "1989 Mexican Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Mexico 1989 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 19 March 2019.

Previous race:
1989 Monaco Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1989 season
Next race:
1989 United States Grand Prix
Previous race:
1988 Mexican Grand Prix
Mexican Grand Prix Next race:
1990 Mexican Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 12 June 2021, at 10:44
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