French GP 1986

JULY 6, 1986

French GP, 1986

Elio de Angelis's accident had led the Paul Ricard authorities to shorten the circuit dramatically and it now cut through on the racing school circuit, which took out the high-speed esses where de Angelis had crashed and reduced the length of the Mistral Straight.

Patrick Tambay was back in action with the Haas Lola team after missing the Detroit GP because of leg injuries from an accident in Canada. Patrick also had a new engineer, Adrian Newey having been hired from the March Indycar project. In the days before the race the FISA had also announced plans to introduce a new 3.5-liter normally-aspirated formula in 1989.

Qualifying resulted in another pole position for Ayrton Senna in his Lotus-Renault with the two Williams-Hondas of Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet second and third. Rene Arnoux was fourth in the Ligier-Renault ahead of Alain Prost's McLaren-TAG. Then came Michele Alboreto's Ferrari, Keke Rosberg's McLaren, the Benetton-BMWs of Gerhard Berger and Teo Fabi and Stefan Johansson's Ferrari.

At the start Alboreto stalled and was left behind while Mansell took the lead from Senna, Arnoux, Berger, Prost, a fast-starting Johnny Dumfries in the second Lotus, Piquet and Rosberg. Fabi collided with Derek Warwick's Brabham during the first lap and both had to pit.

On the fifth lap Senna went off on oil left by Andrea de Cesaris's exploding Minardi-Motori Moderni. The Lotus hit the barriers and Senna was out. Mansell was left alone at the front with Arnoux second and Berger under pressure from both McLarens. They soon passed the Benetton while later ran into Christian Danner's Arrows and had to pit for repairs. Prost and Rosberg chased after Arnoux and were both ahead of the Ligier by lap 18. Mansell had two tire stops and Prost was briefly in the lead but with new rubber and no fuel problems, Mansell was able to retake the lead on lap 58 and went on to win the race. Prost was second. Piquet was struggling with electrical trouble all afternoon but managed to overtake Rosberg to finish third while the top six was completed by the two Ligiers of Arnoux and Laffite.

Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda  80 1h37m19.272s  
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  80 1h37m36.400s  
Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda  80 1h37m56.817s  
Keke Rosberg McLaren-TAG Porsche  80 1h38m07.975s  
25 Rene Arnoux Ligier-Renault  79  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault  79  11 
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW  78  16 
27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  78  
Derek Warwick Brabham-BMW  77  14 
10 Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Renault  77  15 
11 17 Christian Danner Arrows-BMW  76  18 
nc 18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW  67  21 
16 Patrick Tambay Lola-Hart  64 Brake Caliper 13 
11 Johnny Dumfries Lotus-Renault  56 Engine 12 
14 Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed  46 Engine 22 
Philippe Streiff Tyrrell-Renault  43 Fuel Injection/fire 17 
29 Huub Rothengatter Zakspeed  32 Accident 24 
22 Allen Berg Osella-Alfa Romeo  25 Turbo 26 
20 Gerhard Berger Benetton-BMW  22 Accident/gear Selector 
19 Teo Fabi Benetton-BMW  Misfire 
28 Stefan Johansson Ferrari  Turbo 10 
12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault  Accident 
21 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo  Accident 25 
24 Alessandro Nannini Minardi-Motori Moderni  Accident 19 
23 Andrea de Cesaris Minardi-Motori Moderni  Turbo 23 
15 Alan Jones Lola-Hart  Accident 20