Brazilian GP 1986

Brazilian GP, 1986

There had been big changes over the winter with most of the major teams changing at least one driver. Ferrari was unchanged but McLaren had hired Keke Rosberg from Williams, while Nelson Piquet had left Brabham to join Nigel Mansell at Williams. Ayrton Senna stayed at Team Lotus but the Brazilian had blocked the recruitment of Derek Warwick and so rising British star Johnny Dumfries had been signed. With Renault and Alfa Romeo both withdrawing Riccardo Patrese moved to Brabham where he was joined by Elio de Angelis and Gordon Murray produced the unusual Brabham BT55 - the skateboard Brabham - which had the BMW engine tilted over to make the car very low to reduce aerodynamic drag. Eddie Cheever and Derek Warwick were left out of work while Patrick Tambay joined Alan Jones in the new Haas team. Toleman was completely taken over by Benetton and Peter Collins was hired from Williams to run the operation for Teo Fabi and Gerhard Berger. The team had secured a supply of BMW engines. Berger's place at Arrows was taken by Marc Surer. Many of the Renault Sport staff moved to Ligier and Michel Tetu designed the Ligier-Renault JS27 which would be driven by Jacques Laffite and Rene Arnoux. Tyrrell had landed backing from Data General and Courtaulds and was running Martin Brundle with Philippe Streiff while Minardi had expanded to two cars with Andrea de Cesaris and new boy Sandro Nannini. Osella also had two cars for drivers Piercarlo Ghinzani and Christian Danner while Zakspeed stayed with a one-car effort for Jonathan Palmer.

Shortly before the season began there was bad news for the Williams team when team boss Frank Williams was very seriously injured in a road accident in France. He would spend most of the year in hospital.

Qualifying resulted in pole position for Senna but then came the two Williams-Hondas of Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell followed by Rene Arnoux and Jacques Laffite in the two Ligier-Renaults, their Pirelli tires working well. Sixth on the grid went to Michele Alboreto (Ferrari) ahead of Rosberg, Stefan Johansson (Ferrari) and Prost, with Riccardo Patrese completing the top 10 for Brabham.

At the start Mansell got away the best and tried to get ahead of Senna. The Brazilian refused to give way and Mansell went off into the barriers. Senna led by Piquet showed Mansell that a little patience is probably a better idea and on lap three he went past Senna and took the lead. He then began to pull away at a second a lap, leaving Senna ahead of Arnoux, although the Frenchman was soon overtaken by Alboreto. Rosberg was fifth but his engine would soon fail, leaving Johansson to take over. Prost made rapid progress and by lap 16 he had worked his way ahead of Johansson, Arnoux and Alboreto and was running third. On lap 19 Piquet pitted for new tires and on the following lap Prost overtook Senna to go into the lead. Senna pitted. Piquet now charged back and retook the lead just before Prost stopped for tires and so the order settled again with Piquet leading Senna and Prost, although the McLaren driver soon went out with an engine failure. This put Arnoux third but he was a long way back and had Laffite on his tail while Dumfries was a promising fifth. The Scotsman then ran into trouble with an electrical problem and pitted unexpectedly. Senna's tires were put on his car and then taken off again and he was sent on his way, with the electrical problem not having been fixed. Berger thus moved to into fifth place. Both leaders pitted again but the order remained unchanged and Piquet duly won the race with Senna second. Laffite got the better of Arnoux for third place while fifth place went to Brundle who overtook a troubled Berger in the closing laps.

Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda  61 1h39m32.583s  
12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault  61 1h40m07.410s  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault  61 1h40m32.342s  
25 Rene Arnoux Ligier-Renault  61 1h41m01.012s  
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Renault  60  17 
20 Gerhard Berger Benetton-BMW  59  16 
Philippe Streiff Tyrrell-Renault  59  18 
Elio de Angelis Brabham-BMW  58  14 
11 Johnny Dumfries Lotus-Renault  58  11 
10 19 Teo Fabi Benetton-BMW  56  12 
18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW  37 Turbo Wastegate 15 
27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  35 Fuel Pump Drive 
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  30 Engine 
22 Christian Danner Osella-Alfa Romeo  29 Engine 24 
28 Stefan Johansson Ferrari  26 Brakes/spin 
16 Patrick Tambay Lola-Hart  24 Alternator 13 
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW  21 Water Pipe 10 
14 Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed  20 Airbox 21 
17 Marc Surer Arrows-BMW  19 Engine Overheating 20 
24 Alessandro Nannini Minardi-Motori Moderni  18 Clutch 25 
23 Andrea de Cesaris Minardi-Motori Moderni  16 Turbo 22 
21 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo  16 Engine 23 
Keke Rosberg McLaren-TAG Porsche  Engine 
15 Alan Jones Lola-Hart  Distributor Rotor Arm 19 
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda  Accident