1985 French Grand Prix
|Race 7 of 16 in the 1985 FIA Formula One World Championship|
|Date||7 July 1985|
|Official name||71e Grand Prix de France|
|Location||Circuit Paul Ricard
Le Castellet, Var, France
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||5.81 km (3.61 mi)|
|Distance||53 laps, 307.93 km (191.33 mi)|
|Time||1:39.914 on lap 46|
The 1985 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Paul Ricard on 7 July 1985. It was the seventh race of the 1985 FIA Formula One World Championship. It was the 63rd French Grand Prix and the ninth to be held at Paul Ricard. The race was held over 53 laps of the 5.81-kilometre (3.61 mi) circuit for a total race distance of 307.93 kilometres (191.34 mi).
The race was won by Nelson Piquet, driving a Brabham-BMW. It was the 35th and final Formula One victory for the Brabham team, as well as the first F1 victory for Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli since 1957. Keke Rosberg finished second in a Williams-Honda, having started from pole position, while Alain Prost was third in a McLaren-TAG. Prost moved to within five points of Drivers' Championship leader Michele Alboreto, who retired on lap 6 with a turbo failure.
This was to be the last time the full Paul Ricard circuit was used for the French Grand Prix. A shorter, 3.813-kilometre (2.369 mi) circuit would be used from the 1986 race onwards, following Elio de Angelis' fatal accident during a test session in May 1986.
Qualifying saw Keke Rosberg take pole position in his Williams-Honda with a time of 1:32.462, averaging 140.561 mph (226.211 km/h), with Ayrton Senna alongside him on the front row in his Lotus-Renault. On the second row were Michele Alboreto in the Ferrari and Alain Prost in the McLaren, and on the third were Nelson Piquet in the Brabham and Niki Lauda in the second McLaren. Completing the top ten were Elio de Angelis in the second Lotus, Gerhard Berger in the Arrows, and the two factory Renaults of Patrick Tambay and Derek Warwick, Tambay driving a 'B' specification of the RE60.
Rosberg's Williams team-mate, Nigel Mansell, had set a time good enough for eighth on the grid when he had a high-speed crash at the Signes corner, located at the end of the 1.8-kilometre (1.1 mi) long Mistral Straight. A puncture caused the car to plunge off the track at over 200 mph (322 km/h) and into catch fencing; one of the poles struck Mansell on the head, giving him a concussion which forced him to miss the race.
The race was also the first in which the Tyrrell team used Renault turbo engines, thus becoming the last F1 team to go over from naturally aspirated engines to turbos. However, only Martin Brundle drove the new Renault-powered 014 car, while team-mate Stefan Bellof continued to use the Cosworth-powered 012. Brundle could only qualify 20th, but was still over four seconds faster than Bellof in 25th.
At the start, Rosberg led away from Senna and Piquet, while Prost slipped to eighth.
As the laps went on, the hot weather began to affect some of the cars. Ligier's Jacques Laffite suffered an engine failure on lap 3, before team-mate Andrea de Cesaris dropped out two laps later with steering problems. On lap 6, Alboreto suffered a turbo failure.
On lap 7, Piquet overtook compatriot Senna on the Mistral Straight, before passing Rosberg for the lead at Beausset four laps later. He then started to pull away from the Finn, who had wrecked his tires pushing hard early on. Berger later retired on lap 20 after a collision with Pierluigi Martini.
Senna pitted with gearbox problems and slipped out of contention. Lauda and Prost both passed de Angelis with some difficulty, before catching up to and battling with Rosberg. Although the McLarens were faster, the more powerful Honda engine in Rosberg's Williams allowed him to pull away on the faster parts of the circuit. While this battle continued, Piquet pulled further away.
While pushing hard to make up time, Senna had a huge accident at Signes. His engine failed, and oil from it leaked onto the Lotus's rear tyres, causing the car to spin off into the catch fencing at high speed. Senna escaped with bruises.
The Rosberg/Lauda/Prost battle continued until lap 31 when Lauda's gearbox failed. Prost finally got by Rosberg later on at the Verriere bends; and the pace started to hot up as Prost began to push very hard, catching Piquet (who was now 23 seconds ahead) at 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap. Rosberg then went into the pits for new rubber and he stormed after Prost and Piquet.
But Piquet, with BMW power and his Pirelli tyres working well for the first time in the season, was able to hold off both Prost and Rosberg to take what would be Brabham's last victory. Rosberg caught and passed Prost (who had eased his pace) on the last lap. Stefan Johansson took fourth place in the second Ferrari, just ahead of de Angelis, with Tambay in the Renault taking the final point.
|7||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||1:34.022||1:34.227||+1.560|
|12||25||Andrea de Cesaris||Ligier-Renault||1:37.335||1:35.571||+3.109|
|16||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||1:36.729||1:38.745||+4.267|
|17||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||1:36.931||1:38.489||+4.469|
|23||24||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:42.136||1:42.968||+9.674|
|24||29||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:47.523||1:44.350||+11.888|
|2||6||Keke Rosberg||Williams-Honda||53||+ 6.660||1||6|
|3||2||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG||53||+ 9.285||4||4|
|4||28||Stefan Johansson||Ferrari||53||+ 53.491||16||3|
|5||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||53||+ 53.690||7||2|
|6||15||Patrick Tambay||Renault||53||+ 1:15.167||10||1|
|7||16||Derek Warwick||Renault||53||+ 1:44.212||11|
|8||8||Marc Surer||Brabham-BMW||52||+ 1 Lap||14|
|9||18||Thierry Boutsen||Arrows-BMW||52||+ 1 Lap||12|
|10||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||52||+ 1 Lap||18|
|11||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||52||+ 1 Lap||17|
|12||9||Manfred Winkelhock||RAM-Hart||50||+ 3 Laps||20|
|13||4||Stefan Bellof||Tyrrell-Ford||50||+ 3 Laps||26|
|14||19||Teo Fabi||Toleman-Hart||49||Fuel System||19|
|15||24||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||49||+ 4 Laps||24|
|Ret||29||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||19||Accident||25|
|Ret||10||Philippe Alliot||RAM-Hart||8||Fuel System||23|
|Ret||25||Andrea de Cesaris||Ligier-Renault||4||Steering||13|
|DNS||5||Nigel Mansell||Williams-Honda||0||Driver Injured||8|
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "Motor Racing Programme Covers: 1985". The Programme Covers Project. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
- Hamilton, Maurice (ed.) (1985). AUTOCOURSE 1985-86. Hazleton Publishing. p. 242. ISBN 0-905138-38-4.
- Pritchard, Anthony (March 2006). Lotus: The Competition Cars. Haynes Publishing. p. 245. ISBN 1-84425-006-7.
- "1985 French Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 18 February 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
1985 Detroit Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1985 British Grand Prix
1984 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:
1986 French Grand Prix