South African GP 1992

South African GP, 1992

Over the winter tyre supplier Pirelli announced that it was withdrawing from F1 again because of financial problems within the company and so Goodyear was once more left with a tyre monopoly. Alain Prost had decided to sit out the 1992 season having been fired by Ferrari at the end of the 1991 season.

There was little change at McLaren where Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger continued with Honda V12 engines. The McLaren MP4/7 was late arriving and did not show well in testing against the Williams-Renault FW14B which was used by Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese. Ferrari debuted the new F92A but this was off the pace and Jean Alesi and new recruit Ivan Capelli were struggling. Benetton kept the same basic package but dropped Nelson Piquet and hired Martin Brundle to be Michael Schumacher's team mate. Team Lotus was hoping for a revival with Chris Murphy designing the new 107 for Mika Hakkinen and Johnny Herbert although the new car was not ready for the early races.

Tyrrell had a completely new package with Ilmor V10 engines, a modified 020 chassis and very little money. Olivier Grouillard and Andrea de Cesaris joined the team. Brabham had also had a complete change of package with Eric van de Poele and Giovanna Amati being hired to drive for the Middlebridge-run operation with Judd V10 engines.

The Arrows team tried to fight back from the disastrous 1991 season with a new package of Mugen engines, Aguri Suzuki and Michele Alboreto. The Fondmetal team looked to be a little more serious with a deal to run Ford's HB engines and a British design office headed by Sergio Rinland and featuring many of the Brabham staff who had been left behind in Chessington when the team was moved to Milton Keynes by Middlebridge. Gabriele Tarquini stayed with the team and was joined by Swiss Andrea Chiesa.

Scuderia Italia had signed a deal to use Ferrari V12 engines, had retained JJ Lehto and hired Pierluigi Martini from Minardi. Minardi retained Gianni Morbidelli and took on Formula 3000 Champion Christian Fittipaldi, using Lamborghini V12 engines. Ligier had high hopes with Renault engines and a new chassis for Thierry Boutsen and Erik Comas, while Jordan had switched to Yamaha engines but had found some backing from Sasol and Barclay to help pay the bills of 1991. Stefano Modena and Mauricio Gugelmin were hired to drive.

Larrousse had gone into an alliance with the Venturi car company and had commissioned Robin Herd's design bureau in England to build the cars, having fallen out with Lola over money. The team retained Lamborghini V12 engines and Ukyo Katayama was hired to partner Bertrand Gachot. The Leyton House team was in trouble and reverted to being called March F1, with money coming from pay-drivers Karl Wendlinger (supported by Mercedes-Benz) and Paul Belmondo. The team used the Ilmor V10 engine.

AGS and the Modena Team had disappeared. Enzo Coloni had sold the remains of his Coloni team to Italian shoe manufacturer Andrea Sassetti, who renamed it Andrea Moda Formula. Alex Caffi and Enrico Bertaggia were nominated as drivers but the team was excluded from the meeting in South Africa for refusing to pay the $100,000 deposit demanded from new teams by FISA. This meant that there was no need for pre-qualifying.

The system of pre-qualifying was developed in response to the increasing number of teams competing in Formula 1. It was decided that 30 cars were the maximum safe limit to compete for 26 grid places. The cars which had to pre-qualify were decided at the beginning and the midpoint of each season. The 26 cars which had achieved the best results in the previous two-half seasons automatically entered official qualifying for the race. All the other cars had to pre-qualify for the 4 remaining slots available for official qualifying. Those that failed to pre-qualify just went home.

Qualifying at the revamped Kyalami resulted in a dominant pole position for Mansell ahead of Senna, Berger, Patrese, Alesi, Schumacher, the impressive Wendlinger, Brundle, Capelli and de Cesaris.

At the start Patrese managed to get away ahead of both Berger and Senna and so was second to Mansell. Senna was third, but Berger had lost out to both Alesi and Schumacher. The pattern remained largely unchanged with cars dropping out, notably the two Ferraris. This meant that Mansell, Patrese, Senna, Schumacher and Berger filled the top five and Johnny Herbert moved to sixth to pick up a point for Team Lotus.

Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault  72 1h36m45.320s  
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  72 1h37m09.680s  
Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  72 1h37m19.995s  
19 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  72 1h37m33.183s  
Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda  72 1h37m58.954s  
12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Cosworth  71  11 
26 Erik Comas Ligier-Renault  71  13 
10 Aguri Suzuki Footwork-Mugen Honda  70  16 
11 Mika Hakkinen Lotus-Cosworth  70  21 
10 Michele Alboreto Footwork-Mugen Honda  70  17 
11 33 Mauricio Gugelmin Jordan-Yamaha  70  23 
12 30 Ukyo Katayama Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini  68  18 
13 Eric van de Poele Brabham-Judd  68  26 
Olivier Grouillard Tyrrell-Ilmor  62 Clutch 12 
25 Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Renault  60 Engine 14 
22 Pierluigi Martini Dallara-Ferrari  56 Clutch 25 
24 Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Lamborghini  55 Engine 19 
21 JJ Lehto Dallara-Ferrari  46 Crown Wheel 24 
23 Christian Fittipaldi Minardi-Lamborghini  43 Electrics 20 
Andrea de Cesaris Tyrrell-Ilmor  41 Engine 10 
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari  40 Engine 
28 Ivan Capelli Ferrari  28 Engine 
15 Gabriele Tarquini Fondmetal-Cosworth  23 Engine 15 
16 Karl Wendlinger March-Ilmor  13 Engine Overheated 
29 Bertrand Gachot Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini  Accident/suspension 22 
20 Martin Brundle Benetton-Cosworth  Accident/clutch 
nq 17 Paul Belmondo March-Ilmor    
nq 14 Andrea Chiesa Fondmetal-Cosworth    28 
nq 32 Stefano Modena Jordan-Yamaha    29 
nq Giovanna Amati Brabham-Judd    30