1989 French Grand Prix
|Race 7 of 16 in the 1989 Formula One season|
|Date||July 9, 1989|
|Official name||LXXV Rhône-Poulenc Grand Prix de France|
|Location||Circuit Paul Ricard
|Course||Permanent racing facility
3.813 km (2.369 mi)
|Distance||80 laps, 305.04 km (189.543 mi)|
|Weather||Hot, dry, sunny|
|Time||1:12.090 on lap 29|
The race saw four drivers replaced by drivers making their first Formula One start: Jean Alesi replaced Michele Alboreto at Tyrrell after a rumored contract dispute (Alboreto was personally sponsored by Marlboro and team boss Ken Tyrrell had signed their rival Camel as the team's major sponsor). Éric Bernard replaced Yannick Dalmas at Larrousse after it was discovered that Dalmas was still suffering the effects of Legionnaires' disease. Lotus test driver Martin Donnelly (on the recommendation of Derek Warwick) replaced Warwick at Arrows for one race after Warwick injured his back in a Kart race, and McLaren test driver Emanuele Pirro replaced Johnny Herbert at Benetton after it was decided Herbert needed more recovery time from his leg and ankle injuries suffered at Brands Hatch in 1988 (Herbert and Benetton found that he still could not push hard on the brakes which meant early braking resulting in slower lap times). For the first time both Onyx cars qualified for a Grand Prix, Bertrand Gachot and Stefan Johansson dominating pre-qualifying before surprising many by qualifying 11th and 13th respectively.
Dalmas' team mate Philippe Alliot had been sacked by the Larrousse team after Canadian Grand Prix, but when the team couldn't find a replacement driver of experience to partner Bernard he was re-hired and took his place in France. Alliot responded by qualifying a career high 7th, only 1.3 seconds slower than pole man Alain Prost. Until that point it was a career best showing for Larrousse and its new for 1989 Lola LC89 chassis with its Lamborghini V12 engine.
The race is most famous for the multiple collision involving Nigel Mansell, Maurício Gugelmin and other cars on the first lap, which resulted in a restart. All of the drivers involved took the restart; some in spare cars. Alain Prost won the race for McLaren-Honda ahead of Nigel Mansell who started from the pitlane in a car set up for his teammate Gerhard Berger. Berger, who raced the team's spare car after a small oil leek was discovered in his race car (which Mansell used to finish 2nd), again fell foul of the Ferrari's transmission with clutch failure leading to his 6th retirement of the season, leaving him with no points yet scored. Jean Alesi took 4th place and scored points on his F1 debut. Olivier Grouillard scored his only F1 point on home tarmac, Stefan Johansson scored the Onyx team's first points, and Gugelmin set his first fastest lap, although he was not classified at the finish. Twelve cars failed to finish the race, seven of them with engine failures.
One who failed to finish, or start as it was, was World Champion Ayrton Senna, his McLaren's differential failed as the cars got away for the second start. It was the third Grand Prix in succession where Senna had retired due to mechanical failure. Prost's second win for the season gave him an 11 point lead over Senna in the Drivers' Championship. The race was Alain Prost's fourth win on home soil after wins at Dijon in 1981 and Paul Ricard in 1983 for Renault, and 1988 for McLaren.
|12||33||Gregor Foitek||Euro Brun-Judd||1:12.179||+2.562|
|27||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Dallara-Ford||1:12.078||1:10.591||+3.388|
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
1989 Canadian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1989 British Grand Prix
1988 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:
1990 French Grand Prix