1989 Italian Grand Prix

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Italy  1989 Italian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 12 of 16 in the 1989 Formula One season
Monza 1976.jpg
Date September 10, 1989
Official name LX Coca Cola Gran Premio d'Italia
Location Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
Milan, Italy
Course Permanent racing facility
5.80 km (3.6039 mi)
Distance 53 laps, 307.400 km (191.009 mi)
Weather Hot, dry, sunny
Pole position
Driver Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
Time 1:23.720
Fastest lap
Driver France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda
Time 1:28.107 on lap 43
Podium
First France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda
Second Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari
Third Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault

The 1989 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held at Monza on September 10, 1989. It was the twelfth race of the 1989 Formula One season.

Alain Prost took his fourth win of the season after McLaren team-mate and pole-sitter Ayrton Senna suffered an engine failure with nine laps to go, thus extending the Frenchman's lead over the Brazilian in the Drivers' Championship to 20 points. Knowing that he was moving to Ferrari for 1990, Prost dropped his winners' trophy from the podium into the crowd, to the severe disapproval of his team manager Ron Dennis.[1] Gerhard Berger, the man Prost would be replacing at Ferrari, recorded his first finish of the season with second, followed by the two Williams of Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese. The final points went to Jean Alesi in the Tyrrell and Martin Brundle in the Brabham.

Pre-race[edit]

Before the Italian Grand Prix, Alain Prost was confirmed as a Ferrari driver from 1990. To the Tifosi who had previously seen Prost as the villain, he was now the hero of the crowd. It mattered not that he was still driving for McLaren, he was a confirmed Ferrari driver now and was treated as such (in previous years he had been jostled, jeered, and even pelted with tomatoes by some of the Tifosi for daring to beat the Ferrari's).

Prost's announcement allowed Frank Williams to re-sign Riccardo Patrese for 1990 (Prost had offers from both Ferrari and Williams). Lotus also announced at the Grand Prix that they would be using the Lamborghini V12 engine in 1990. They also confirmed that their 1990 drivers would be Derek Warwick and the teams test driver Martin Donnelly.

Qualifying[edit]

Predictably, the McLaren-Honda of Ayrton Senna was the fastest in qualifying for his 38th career pole position. Second was a surprise as it wasn't his team mate Prost who was publicly complaining all weekend of a down on power engine compared to Senna's. It was Ferrari's Gerhard Berger who was second on the grid with his team mate Nigel Mansell in third. Prost was only 4th, some 1.79 seconds slower than his Brazilian team mate.

Prost's claims that Honda were favouring Senna were refuted by both Honda and McLaren boss Ron Dennis. However the Frenchman had allies in former Honda drivers Mansell and 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg who also told the press that when it became known they would not be driving Honda powered cars any more that their engines did not works as well or have as much power as was previous. BBC commentator Murray Walker also reported during the race itself that Prost was over 7 mph (11 km/h) slower than Senna through the speed trap in the race morning warm-up session despite the two cars running similar wing settings.

Senna's time of 1:23.720 in his V10 McLaren-Honda was 2.254 seconds faster than he had been a year earlier in the turbocharged McLaren MP4/4. His time was only 0.26 seconds shy of the fastest ever lap of the Monza circuit set by Nelson Piquet in a Williams-Honda in qualifying for the 1987 race when the turbo engines were developing some 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) more than the naturally aspirated engines of 1989.

Eddie Cheever, who had finished 3rd in the 1988 race, failed to qualify his Arrows-Ford. It was the second time in 1989 that the American had failed to qualify for a race. His team mate Derek Warwick qualified 16th. The Brabham-Judd of Stefano Modena was excluded from the meeting when his car was found to be underweight. This promoted the Minardi of Luis Pérez-Sala onto the grid.

Race[edit]

Senna led from the start and built up a small lead over Berger, while Mansell and especially Prost struggled to stay in touch. Indeed in the early stages of the race Prost was having a hard time holding off the Williams-Renault of Thierry Boutsen, though the BBC's James Hunt explained that Prost was using a harder set of "B" compound tyres in the hope of not having to pit during the race.

Emanuele Pirro was the races first retirement, the transmission in his Benetton-Ford not lasting a single lap. Only just longer was the Lola-Lamborghini of Philippe Alliot. The Lola's of Alliot and Michele Alboreto had easily been the fastest in pre-qualifying, and Alliot went on to qualify a fine 7th (ahead of the Benetton's) before spinning into the sand trap at Ascari on just his second lap.

Alessandro Nannini's Benetton lost its brakes on lap 33 putting him into retirement, while Nigel Mansell suffered gearbox failure on lap 41. Through all of this, Senna was still comfortably in the lead with Prost having fought his way past Berger into second following Mansell's retirement. This saw the unusual sight of the Tifosi cheering when a McLaren passed a Ferrari, though Berger had already been confirmed as Prost's replacement at McLaren in 1990. The Williams' pair of Boutsen and Patrese, having found the limits of the older FW12 model, were circulating in 4th and 5th places but at no staged threatened the leaders.

On lap 44 the roar of the crowd told the story as the V10 Honda in Senna's McLaren comprehensively blew up going into the Parabolica, dumping its oil onto the rear tyres and sending Senna into a gentle spin and retirement, handing Prost a lead he never thought he would have in this race. Prost held on to win his first Italian Grand Prix since 1981 from Berger who finished his first race of the season, with Boutsen coming home third. Despite Prost's engine complaints, he still managed to set the fastest lap of the race on lap 43.

Prost's win restored his 20 point championship lead over Senna with only four races remaining in the season. However, due to the "Best 11" scoring system, Prost had now scored major points in 11 races while Senna could still score from all four remaining races. This meant that unless Prost won races, he would be able to score only a small amount of points for the remainder of the season while Senna could conceivably score a maximum of 36 points (and win the championship) if he won the last four rounds.

Post race Prost was forced to sign an apology to Honda for his public comments at Monza. What is less well known is that behind the scenes Senna actually tried to use his influence with Honda to have Prost fired immediately from the team, though with the sponsorship money and winning bonus money to consider Ron Dennis did not fire the Frenchman.

Classification[edit]

Pre-qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 1:26.623
2 29 Italy Michele Alboreto Lola-Lamborghini 1:27.829 +1.206
3 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 1:27.980 +1.357
4 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford 1:28.344 +1.721
5 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford 1:28.588 +1.965
6 40 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford 1:28.813 +2.190
7 31 Brazil Roberto Moreno Coloni-Ford 1:28.864 +2.241
8 18 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford 1:28.884 +2.261
9 34 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:29.472 +2.849
10 35 Japan Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha 1:30.085 +3.462
11 33 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Judd 1:30.089 +3.466
12 41 France Yannick Dalmas AGS-Ford 1:30.882 +4.259
13 32 Italy Enrico Bertaggia Coloni-Ford 1:31.606 +4.983

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:25.021 1:23.720
2 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:24.734 1:24.998 +1.014
3 27 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 1:24.739 1:24.979 +1.019
4 2 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 1:25.872 1:25.510 +1.790
5 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 1:26.195 1:25.545 +1.825
6 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 1:26.155 1:26.392 +2.435
7 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 1:27.118 1:26.985 +3.265
8 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:27.162 1:27.052 +3.332
9 20 Italy Emanuele Pirro Benetton-Ford 1:28.367 1:27.397 +3.677
10 4 France Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Ford 1:27.399 +3.679
11 11 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd 1:28.135 1:27.508 +3.788
12 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 1:27.627 1:27.637 +3.907
13 29 Italy Michele Alboreto Lola-Lamborghini 1:28.586 1:27.803 +4.083
14 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 1:29.187 1:27.822 +4.102
15 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 1:28.397 1:27.923 +4.203
16 9 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Ford 1:28.092 1:29.031 +4.372
17 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 1:28.129 1:28.180 +4.472
18 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1:31.969 1:28.430 +4.710
19 12 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd 1:28.769 1:28.441 +4.721
20 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:28.596 1:28.708 +4.876
21 26 France Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Ford 1:28.669 1:29.537 +4.949
22 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford 1:28.684 1:29.058 +4.964
23 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Ford 1:28.685 1:28.843 +4.965
24 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 1:29.265 1:28.773 +5.053
25 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 1:29.192 1:28.923 +5.203
26 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 1:29.592 1:29.293 +5.573
27 10 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Ford 1:29.884 1:29.554 +5.834
28 38 Germany Christian Danner Rial-Ford 1:32.074 1:31.830 +8.110
29 39 France Pierre-Henri Raphanel Rial-Ford 1:36.295 +12.575
DSQ 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 2 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 53 1:19:27.550 4 9
2 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 53 + 7.326 2 6
3 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 53 + 14.975 6 4
4 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 53 + 38.722 5 3
5 4 France Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Ford 52 + 1 Lap 10 2
6 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd 52 + 1 Lap 12 1
7 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 52 + 1 Lap 15  
8 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 51 + 2 Laps 26  
9 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Ford 51 + 2 Laps 23  
10 12 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd 51 Suspension 19  
11 21 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 47 Engine 20  
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 45 Engine 17  
Ret 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 44 Engine 1  
Ret 27 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 41 Gearbox 3  
Ret 37 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Ford 38 Radiator 22  
Ret 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 33 Brakes 8  
Ret 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 30 Engine 18  
Ret 26 France Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Ford 30 Exhaust 21  
Ret 11 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd 23 Spun Off 11  
Ret 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 18 Engine 14  
Ret 9 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Ford 18 Fuel System 16  
Ret 17 Italy Nicola Larini Osella-Ford 16 Gearbox 24  
Ret 29 Italy Michele Alboreto Lola-Lamborghini 14 Electrical 13  
Ret 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 14 Throttle 25  
Ret 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini 1 Spun Off 7  
Ret 20 Italy Emanuele Pirro Benetton-Ford 0 Transmission 9  
DSQ 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd    
DNQ 10 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Ford    
DNQ 38 Germany Christian Danner Rial-Ford    
DNQ 39 France Pierre-Henri Raphanel Rial-Ford    
DNPQ 36 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford    
DNPQ 40 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford    
DNPQ 31 Brazil Roberto Moreno Coloni-Ford    
DNPQ 18 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford    
DNPQ 34 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha    
DNPQ 35 Japan Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha    
DNPQ 33 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Judd    
DNPQ 41 France Yannick Dalmas AGS-Ford    
DNPQ 32 Italy Enrico Bertaggia Coloni-Ford        

Notes[edit]

  • Oscar Larrauri returned to the EuroBrun team (having driven for them the previous year) in place of Gregor Foitek.
  • Stefano Modena qualified for the race but was excluded for being underweight, thus promoting Luis Pérez-Sala to the last spot on the grid.
  • McLaren won the Constructor's Championship with four races left.

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Bold Text indicates World Champions
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cooper, Adam (2000). "Memories are Made of This". Atlas F1. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 


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1989 Belgian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1989 season
Next race:
1989 Portuguese Grand Prix
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1988 Italian Grand Prix
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1990 Italian Grand Prix