French GP 1989

JULY 9, 1989

French GP, 1989

There were a string of changes at the French Grand Prix. Alain Prost announced that he would not be staying with McLaren in 1990. McLaren signed up Gerhard Berger as his replacement. The political battle at Benetton came to a head with Johnny Herbert being restedby the team and Emanuele Pirro coming in to replace him. Larrousse decided that Yannick Dalmas was not sufficiently recovered from his attack of Legionnaires Disease and he too was dropped, making way for Eric Bernard. Tyrrell had landed a sponsorship deal from Camel. This meant that Marlboro-sponsored Michele Alboreto left the team and was replaced by a youngster called Jean Alesi while Derek Warwick had damaged hi back in a karting event and so his place was taken for the weekend by Martin Donnelly. In total there would be five F1 debutantes in the race as Bertrand Gachot finally managed to get his Onyx through prequalifying.

Despite all the changes there was little changed in the overall picture with the McLaren-Hondas still well clear of the opposition with Prost on pole from Ayrton Senna. Nigel Mansell was third fastest in his Ferrari ahead of Sandro Nannini's Benetton, Thierry Boutsen's Williams, Gerhard Berger's Ferrari and Philippe Alliot's Larrousse Lola. The top 10 was completed by Riccardo Patrese's Williams, Jonathan Palmer's Tyrrell and Mauricio Gugelmin's Leyton House. Gachot qualified 11th in his Onyx, the fastest of the new boys.

At the start Senna went into the lead from Prost but behind the two McLarens there was chaos as Gugelmin ran into the back of Boutsen and Mansell and took off, bouncing amidst the other front-runners. The race was red-flagged and there was a rush to spare cars. Mansell, Gugelmin and Donnelly all started from the pitlane.

At the restart Senna's McLaren went out immediately with a transmission failure, leaving Prost in the lead. He would remain there all afternoon to win the race. In the early laps it was Berger who led the chase but he soon dropped behind Nannini and Boutsen, the Ferrari retiring with an oil leak before half-distance. Nannini went out with rear suspension problems while Boutsen disappeared with gearbox trouble which left Ivan Capelli second until he suffered an engine failure. Briefly the remarkable Alesi ran second before he had to stop for tires and Patrese moved up but towards the end he had fallen behind Mansell. Bernard impressed getting his Lola up to fifth before he had to stop for tires.

Prost duly won from Mansell and Patrese. Alesi was fourth with Stefan Johansson's Onyx scoring the first points for Onyx with Grouillard sixth for Ligier.

Alain Prost McLaren-Honda  80 1h38m29.411s  
27 Nigel Mansell Ferrari  80 1h39m13.428s  
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  80 1h39m36.332s  
Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Cosworth  80 1h39m42.643s  16 
36 Stefan Johansson Onyx-Cosworth  79  13 
26 Olivier Grouillard Ligier-Cosworth  79  17 
10 Eddie Cheever Arrows-Cosworth  79  25 
11 Nelson Piquet Lotus-Judd  78  20 
20 Emanuele Pirro Benetton-Cosworth  78  24 
10 Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Cosworth  78  
29 Eric Bernard Lola-Lamborghini  77 Engine 15 
Martin Donnelly Arrows-Cosworth  77  14 
37 Bertrand Gachot Onyx-Cosworth  76  11 
nc 15 Mauricio Gugelmin March-Judd  71  10 
Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd  67 Engine 22 
Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault  50 Gearbox 
12 Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Judd  49 Electrics 19 
16 Ivan Capelli March-Judd  43 Engine 12 
19 Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Cosworth  40 Rear Suspension 
23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  31 Oil Pressure 23 
30 Philippe Alliot Lola-Lamborghini  30 Engine 
40 Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Cosworth  30 Engine 21 
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari  29 Gearbox Oil Leak 
21 Alex Caffi Dallara-Cosworth  27 Accident/clutch Master Cylinder 26 
25 Rene Arnoux Ligier-Cosworth  14 Gearbox 18 
Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  Differential 
nq 22 Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Cosworth    27 
nq 24 Luis Sala Minardi-Cosworth    28 
nq 38 Christian Danner Rial-Cosworth    29 
nq 31 Roberto Moreno Coloni-Cosworth    30 
npq 17 Nicola Larini Osella-Cosworth    31 
npq Martin Brundle Brabham-Judd    32 
npq 39 Volker Weidler Rial-Cosworth    33 
npq 34 Bernd Schneider Zakspeed-Yamaha    34 
npq 18 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Cosworth    35 
npq 32 Pierre-Henri Raphanel Coloni-Cosworth    36 
npq 35 Aguri Suzuki Zakspeed-Yamaha    37 
npq 33 Gregor Foitek EuroBrun-Judd    38 
npq 41 Joachim Winkelhock AGS-Cosworth    39