1988 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Brazil  1988 Brazilian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 1 of 16 in the 1988 Formula One season
Circuit Jacarepagua.png
Date April 3, 1988
Official name 17o Grande Premio do Brasil
Location Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Course Permanent racing facility
5.031 km (3.126 mi)
Distance 60 laps, 301.860 km (186.417 mi)
Weather Cloudy and hot
Pole position
Driver Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
Time 1:28.096
Fastest lap
Driver Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari
Time 1:32.943 on lap 45
Podium
First France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda
Second Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari
Third Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda

The 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on April 3, 1988 at the renamed Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Rio de Janeiro. Following his 3rd World Drivers Championship in 1987 the Jacarepaguá Circuit was named after local hero Nelson Piquet. It was the first race of the 1988 Formula One season.

Background[edit]

Winter testing had indicated Ferrari would be maintaining the edge that they had gained at the end of the 1987 season despite only having an updated version of their 1987 car, with McLaren-Honda and Williams-Judd also producing cars that looked like potential race winners.

Ferrari had dominated the pre-season tests in Rio with times that were not only faster than everyone else, but faster than had been recorded at the 1987 Brazilian Grand Prix, prompting rumors that the team had either shut off the FIA's mandatory pop-off valve which in 1988 limited turbo boost pressure to just 2.5 Bar, or more likely were running the 1987 valve which had a 4.0 Bar limit (most of the team engineers agreed that in 1988 the turbo engines had lost approximately 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) due to the reduction in boost). The rumors were renewed during qualifying in Brazil when neither Michele Alboreto nor Gerhard Berger could get near their test times from a month earlier and both drivers complained of engines that were down on power, too thirsty and had poor throttle response. With the 1988 pop-off valve connected, both Ferraris were also significantly slower on the circuits long back straight than either the McLaren or Lotus Hondas which were all timed at over 290 km/h (180 mph).

During the qualifying session there was controversy when Nelson Piquet made comments in the local media publicly insulting Ayrton Senna, though he later claimed he did not know he was talking to a journalist and was forced to withdraw his allegation under threat of a lawsuit (Over time, these insults by Piquet - with the aid of Prost - also extended to claims that Senna was homosexual, particularly given his failed marriage in 1982; as it transpired in a 1990 interview of Senna by Brazilian edition of Playboy the gay claim may have been motivated by the fact that Senna had apparently had a relation with Piquet's wife when she was single[1]). The World Champion had also been insulting about Nigel Mansell's wife Roxanne (calling her unattractive), and both drivers' families. BMS Dallara's Alex Caffi had to use a modified Formula 3000 chassis because the Formula One chassis was not ready.

Drivers making their debut in Rio were: Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin (March-Judd), Spanish driver Luis Pérez-Sala (Minardi-Ford), Argentinian Sportscar driver Oscar Larrauri (EuroBrun-Ford) making his F1 debut at the age of 33, Briton Julian Bailey (Tyrrell-Ford) and young German Formula 3 Champion Bernd Schneider (Zakspeed). Of the new drivers, only Bailey and Schneider failed to qualify.

EuroBrun (with Larrauri and 1987 International Formula 3000 champion Stefano Modena) and Rial Racing, with veteran Andrea de Cesaris as its sole driver, were making their F1 debuts as constructors. The EuroRacing side of the EuroBrun team had formerly ran the Alfa Romeo team from 1982-85, while Rial, run by German Günther Schmid, was virtually a born-again ATS which had competed in F1 from 1977-84. Both teams would use the 3.5L Ford DFZ V8 engine.

Qualifying[edit]

Just five months after his crash at the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix, Mansell produced a sensational performance to qualify his naturally aspirated Williams second, 1.5 seconds faster than the next 'atmo' car, the Benetton-Ford of Thierry Boutsen in 7th. On the pole was Senna in his first drive for McLaren with a time almost two seconds slower than Mansell's 1987 pole time. The second row was occupied by Gerhard Berger's Ferrari and Alain Prost's McLaren. After only a small amount of testing at Imola before joining in the Rio tests due to the late finish of the car, neither Senna or Prost were happy with the balance of their McLaren MP4/4s in qualifying.

The four non-qualifiers were the Tyrrell-Ford of Julian Bailey, the turbo Zakspeeds of Piercarlo Ghinzani and Schneider, and the turbo Osella of Nicola Larini. Alex Caffi failed to pre-qualify his converted F3000 Dallara.

Race summary[edit]

On the parade lap, Senna's gear selector mechanism broke and he had to complete the lap jammed in first gear. The first start was aborted and Senna started from the spare car in the pits. At the second start, Alain Prost with no one in front of him due to Senna's absence, won the start and put in one of his famous first laps that saw him lead by almost 2 seconds, with Mansell in 2nd place, though he was soon passed by Berger's Ferrari. On lap 19, the temperature gauge showed that the Williams was overheating (at the first aborted start Mansell had been forced to drive off around the track, thankfully without penalty, due to his Judd V8 already overheating on the grid). He entered the pits to investigate, handing third to Nelson Piquet in his Lotus; during the process, Mansell stalled his engine.

Senna was making a remarkable drive from the rear of the grid, climbing to 21st on lap 1 (after almost colliding with the March of his former flatmate Maurício Gugelmin who suffered gearbox failure less than 50 metres after the start of his debut race and pulled to the inside of the track as Senna was leaving the pits), 15th on lap 4, 8th on lap 10, into the points on lap 13 and by lap 20 was in second place after passing Piquet on the back straight following a pit stop to Berger.

Prost pitted on lap 26 without losing the lead, and Senna pitted a lap later. During his stop Senna stalled his Honda engine and dropped to sixth place. Shortly afterwards he was shown the black flag and disqualified for changing cars after the green flag had been shown following the parade lap, a move that was not allowed (McLaren should have known this as Prost suffered the same fate at the 1986 Italian Grand Prix). Over the last 10 laps of the race Berger closed to within 10 seconds of leader Prost, but the Frenchman was merely pacing himself and Berger was unable to catch him.

Piquet, the reigning World Champion, came home third in his first drive for Lotus ahead of Derek Warwick in the Arrows-Megatron. Michele Alboreto in the second Ferrari and Satoru Nakajima in the second Lotus rounded out the points with 5th and 6th places. The first atmospheric car to finish was the Benetton-Ford of Thierry Boutsen. Nakajima and Boutsen both finished a lap down on Prost in 7th place. The first race of FISA's new equivalency formula in a bid to make the 'atmos' competitive had seen turbos still take all the points on offer.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 12 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:30.218 1:28.096
2 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd 1:30.928 1:28.632 +0.536
3 11 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 1:31.975 1:28.782 +0.686
4 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:32.123 1:29.026 +0.930
5 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda 1:32.888 1:30.087 +1.991
6 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Ferrari 1:32.523 1:30.114 +2.018
7 20 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Ford 1:32.060 1:30.140 +2.044
8 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd 1:34.070 1:30.439 +2.343
9 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1:33.546 1:30.929 +2.833
10 2 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda 1:33.293 1:31.280 +3.184
11 17 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron 1:34.323 1:31.713 +3.617
12 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:31.722 1:32.748 +4.626
13 15 Brazil Mauricio Gugelmin March-Judd 1:34.037 1:31.833 +3.737
14 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 1:34.988 1:32.275 +4.179
15 18 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron 1:33.787 1:32.843 +4.747
16 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Ford 1:35.930 1:32.933 +4.837
17 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Ford 1:36.832 1:33.408 +5.312
18 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Judd 1:37.214 1:34.474 +6.378
19 14 France Philippe Streiff AGS-Ford 1:37.601 1:34.481 +6.385
20 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 1:36.593 1:34.532 +6.436
21 26 Sweden Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd 1:37.454 1:34.579 +6.483
22 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 1:38.628 1:34.686 +6.590
23 23 Spain Adrian Campos Minardi-Ford 1:36.593 1:34.886 +6.790
24 33 Italy Stefano Modena EuroBrun-Ford 1:37.506 1:34.910 +6.814
25 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford 1:41.149 1:35.407 +7.311
26 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Ford 1:38.927 1:35.711 +7.615
DNQ 4 United Kingdom Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Ford 1:39.711 1:36.137 +8.041
DNQ 9 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed 1:40.431 1:37.621 +9.525
DNQ 21 Italy Nicola Larini Osella 1:38.927 1:38.371 +10.275
DNQ 10 West Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed 1:45.540 1:38.614 +10.518
DNPQ 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 60 1:36:06.857 3 9
2 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 60 +9.873 4 6
3 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda 60 +1:08.591 5 4
4 17 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron 60 +1:13.348 11 3
5 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Ferrari 60 +1:14.556 6 2
6 2 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda 59 +1 Lap 10 1
7 20 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Ford 59 +1 Lap 7
8 18 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron 59 +1 Lap 15
9 26 Sweden Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd 57 +3 Laps 21
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 53 Engine 14
Ret 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 47 Transmission 22
Ret 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 46 Chassis 20
Ret 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Ford 40 Suspension 16
Ret 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford 35 Suspension 25
Ret 14 France Philippe Streiff AGS-Ford 35 Brakes 19
Ret 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Ford 32 Engine 17
DSQ 12 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 31 Disqualified 1
Ret 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Judd 23 Clutch 18
Ret 33 Italy Stefano Modena EuroBrun-Ford 20 Engine 24
Ret 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd 18 Engine 2
Ret 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 7 Engine 12
Ret 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd 6 Engine 8
Ret 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 6 Engine 9
Ret 23 Spain Adrián Campos Minardi-Ford 5 Chassis 23
Ret 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 0 Gearbox 13
Ret 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Ford 0 Electrical 26
DNQ 4 United Kingdom Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Ford
DNQ 9 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed
DNQ 21 Italy Nicola Larini Osella
DNQ 10 West Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed
DNPQ 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford

Standings after the race[edit]

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

References[edit]


Previous race:
1987 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1988 season
Next race:
1988 San Marino Grand Prix
Previous race:
1987 Brazilian Grand Prix
Brazilian Grand Prix Next race:
1989 Brazilian Grand Prix