Brazilian GP 1987

APRIL 12, 1987

Brazilian GP, 1987

The dramatic end to the 1986 season in Australia, with Alain Prost winning the World Championship at the last gasp created tension between Williams and Honda but the combination was still potent and with Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet staying with the team it was still a powerful challenger. McLaren was without John Barnard but retained Alain Prost while Keke Rosberg's retirement had opened the way for Stefan Johansson to join the team, having been dropped by Ferrari in favor of Gerhard Berger. Benetton had hired Thierry Boutsen to replace Berger as Teo Fabi's partner and with the Haas Lola team having closed down the team took over the factory Ford turbo engines. Team Lotus changed color with JPS being replaced by Camel and landed a Honda engine deal for drivers Ayrton Senna and Satoru Nakajima.

Martin Brundle left Tyrrell to join Christian Danner at Zakspeed while Zakspeed's Jonathan Palmer joined Philippe Streiff at Tyrrell, which had gone back to using Cosworth DFZ engines. The only BMW engines left were the factory supply to Brabham, these being the units which the cylinders angled to create a low profile for the BT55. Derek Warwick left Brabham to join F1 returnee Eddie Cheever at Arrows with rebadged upright BMW engines which were now known as Megatrons. The team also got a new technical director Ross Brawn joining from the Haas Lola team.

Riccardo Patrese was joined at Brabham by Andrea de Cesaris while his place alongside Sandro Nannini at Minardi as taken by wealthy newcomer Adrian Campos. Osella had only one Alfa Romeo-engined car in Brazil for Alex Caffi.

Ligier was due to run new Alfa Romeo four-cylinder turbo engines for Rene Arnoux and Piercarlo Ghinzani but things went badly wrong. Arnoux made disparaging remarks about the Italian company's new four-cylinder turbo engine. Alfa Romeo had only recently been acquired by FIAT which was not keen on the Alfa named being in F1. As a result Alfa Romeo cited a clause in the Ligier contract stating that Ligier should not do anything to damage the image of Alfa Romeo and quit the team. The news was disastrous for Ligier and the team had to miss Brazil while modifying its cars to run Megatron engines.

With the rules restricting turbo engines more and more and fewer turbo engines available several teams went back to Cosworth power and the FIA decided to introduce a separate competition for the normally-aspirated cars, introducing a Jim Clark Trophy for drivers and a Colin Chapman Trophy for teams. Four teams would be eligible: Tyrrell, AGS, March and the new Larrousse Lola team, which did not appear in Brazil. March had backing from Leyton House and Ivan Capelli driving an uprated Formula 3000 car while AGS had hired Pascal Fabre to drive. The overall entry was down to 23 cars and with Pirelli having withdrawn there was only one tire supplier, Goodyear.

Qualifying in Brazil resulted in a dominant showing from Williams-Honda with Mansell ahead of Piquet. Then came Senna, Fabi, Prost, Boutsen, Berger, Warwick, Alboreto and Johansson.

The March team suffered a setback on race morning when it ran out of engines and so the field was down to 22. At the start Piquet took the lead from the fast-starting Senna while Mansell made a bad start and had to fight his way back to third. on lap seven Piquet suddenly went into the pits, his car having picked up paper in its radiators. he rejoined back in 11th position, leaving Senna to lead Mansell although the British driver was soon in the pits as well to have his radiators cleared. He rejoined behind Piquet and the pair then began to climb through the field. Senna pitted because of handling trouble and so Prost went into the lead and when he stopped for new tires Boutsen briefly led before Piquet went back into the lead before his second stop. Prost then went ahead again and led for the rest of the afternoon, never looking threatened as he did not have a third tire stop while his rivals Senna and Prost did. Mansell's race was disrupted by a puncture while Senna went out with engine failure and so Prost came home to win ahead of Piquet, Johansson, Berger, Boutsen and Mansell.

Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  61 1h39m45.141s  
Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda  61 1h40m25.688s  
Stefan Johansson McLaren-TAG Porsche  61 1h40m41.899s  10 
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari  61 1h41m24.376s  
20 Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Cosworth  60  
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda  60  
11 Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda  59  12 
8r 27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  58 Spin 
10 Christian Danner Zakspeed  58  17437 
10 Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Cosworth  58  18 
11 Philippe Streiff Tyrrell-Cosworth  57  20 
12 14 Pascal Fabre AGS-Cosworth  55  22 
18 Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron  52 Engine 14 
12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Honda  50 Engine 
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW  48 Battery Loose 11 
Andrea de Cesaris Brabham-BMW  21 Differential 13 
17 Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron  20 Engine Overheating 
21 Alex Caffi Osella-Alfa Romeo  20 Driver Exhausted 21 
24 Alessandro Nannini Minardi-Motori Moderni  17 Suspension 15 
Martin Brundle Zakspeed  15 Turbo 19 
19 Teo Fabi Benetton-Cosworth  Turbo 
dq 23 Adrian Campos Minardi-Motori Moderni  Incorrect Starting Procedure 16 
ns 16 Ivan Capelli March-Cosworth   No Engine 23