French GP 1985

JULY 7, 1985

French GP, 1985

The entry was slightly different from the Detroit GP a fortnight earlier with Zakspeed back in action and Tyrrell having produced its first Renault-engined 014 chassis for Martin Brundle. Stefan Bellof was left in the old Cosworth-engined 012. There was also a new B-specification Renault RE60 for Patrick Tambay. Pole position went to Detroit winner Keke Rosberg in the Williams-Honda FW10 with Ayrton Senna's Lotus-Renault second ahead of Michele Alboreto (Ferrari), Alain Prost's McLaren-TAG, and Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW), which was the fastest of the Pirelli cars. The top 10 was completed by Niki Lauda (McLaren-TAG), Elio de Angelis (Lotus-Renault), Gerhard Berger (Arrows-BMW) and the two Renaults of Patrick Tambay and Derek Warwick. Nigel Mansell had a huge accident on Saturday when a tire blew at Signes. Mansell received a bang on the head from a catchfencing pole. He took no further part in the weekend. In the light of the crash Roberg's pole position was an extraordinary achievement.

On race day it was very hot and the Pirelli runners felt that this would be an advantage. At the start Rosberg went into the lead with Senna chasing and Piquet third. The French hopes of success were short-lived as both Ligiers went out in the first four laps and then fourth-placed Alboreto stopped with an engine failure. It was clear early on that Piquet was very competitive and on the seventh lap he moved ahead of Senna. The Brazilian retired soon afterwards with a gearbox problem. Piquet now closed on Rosberg, who was struggling for grip and on the 11th lap the Brabham-BMW went ahead. At the same time the two McLarens of Lauda and Prost got ahead of de Angelis and so Lauda was third and Prost fourth. That order was unchanged until lap 30 when Lauda went out with gearbox trouble and so Prost was third. Eight laps later he caught and passed the struggling Rosberg who the decided to pit for new tires. He dropped to fourth but was soon ahead of de Angelis again and on the last lap he overtook Prost as well. Johansson finished fourth, passing de Angelis on the last lap, while the final point went to Tambay.

Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW  53 1h31m46.266s  
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda  53 1h31m52.926s  
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  53 1h31m55.551s  
28 Stefan Johansson Ferrari  53 1h32m39.757s  15 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault  53 1h32m39.956s  
15 Patrick Tambay Renault  53 1h33m01.433s  
16 Derek Warwick Renault  53 1h33m30.478s  10 
Marc Surer Brabham-BMW  52  13 
18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW  52  11 
10 23 Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo  52  17 
11 22 Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo  52  16 
12 Manfred Winkelhock RAM-Hart  50  19 
13 Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth  50  25 
14r 19 Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart  49 Fuel Pressure 18 
15 24 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo  49  23 
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth  32 Gearbox 20 
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG Porsche  30 Gearbox 
12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault  26 Engine/accident 
17 Gerhard Berger Arrows-BMW  20 Accident 
29 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  19 Accident 24 
10 Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart  Fuel Pressure 22 
30 Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed  Engine 21 
27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  Turbo 
25 Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault  Drive Shaft 12 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault  Turbo 14 
ns Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda   Accident/injury 26