#405 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix

2022-08-07 00:00

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#1985, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Alessia Borelli,

#405 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix

In the still warm autumn of Rio de Janeiro, the Formula 1 World Championship of the modern era will get underway. It goes without saying that the anti


In the still warm autumn of Rio de Janeiro, the Formula 1 World Championship of the modern era will get underway. It goes without saying that the anticipation for this first race on the Jacarepaguà circuit is enormous. There was a long break (from 21 October 1984 to Sunday 7 April 1985, ie five and a half months), the teams had time to carry out meticulous preparation. It starts with an obligatory favorite team: McLaren, absolute ruler of a season that saw it beat every previous record in terms of victories, with its drivers contending for the world title in a family fight. This team, with an English skeleton and a German engine, tries to establish in 1985 a record that no one has hit yet, that of obtaining two consecutive successes. it is within his reach if you consider the technical consistency of McLaren and the ability of Niki Lauda and Alain Prost. However, there are some facts that could even upset a logical forecast favorable to Ron Dennis's team. Meanwhile, the change of tyres, which could prove decisive. Then the obvious recovery of rivals. The new McLaren, modified in the rear suspension and in other less visible details, has only been out of the workshops for a few days and has made a few rounds in England. Therefore, the details with the other cars are missing. Even if it's easy to guess that the designer John Barnard could not have made sensational mistakes but must have managed to further improve his product, the brand new single-seater is always an unknown factor. Whoever wins is always right. But the arrogance with which Barnard himself judges his rivals seems a bit out of place. In a recent interview, the designer said that many teams, including Ferrari, still don't have clear ideas in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. There may be some truth to it, but sooner or later everyone can be wrong and from the crest of a wave you can quickly end up underwater. A little modesty never hurts. Having said this, it must be noted that Ferrari, once again, based on the numerous winter tests, theoretically presents itself as the most dangerous opponent for McLaren. The new 156 has delivered positive results, and will be further improved over the course of the season. However, it is premature to say that the Maranello team has all the credentials to beat the English team. And it will be the Brazilian Grand Prix that will reveal the first truths about the dominant motives of the season. 


Reasons that involve Formula 1 both on a technical and human level. There is the worrying and useless escalation of the so-called qualifying engines to record. By now almost all the teams will have these special engines that reach powers of 1000 HP and that last a few laps before breaking. One more problem, greater risks for the riders, also because everything has to be redone for the races. It will be especially interesting for the Italians to follow the debut of Minardi, to see if Alfa Romeo will keep its promises of good progress, to keep an eye on an Osella which unfortunately is struggling amidst several economic difficulties. Among the pilots there are emerging protagonists. First of all the young Brazilian Ayrton Senna, moved to Lotus. He is a fast boy, very determined, a potential champion. But he still lacks experience and he will have to contend, hopefully on equal terms, with teammate Elio De Angelis, one who is not very willing to be a follow-on. For the rest almost everything is new. The cars, obviously, with some outsiders such as Arrows in the relaunch phase, Renault which is still a mysterious object, Brabham which has followed different aerodynamic concepts, Williams which for the first time has developed a chassis in carbon fiber to house the Honda engine. In short, the reasons for interest are there. The temperature is still high on the coast, and the sun hangs over the Jacarepaguà circuit where in any case the atmosphere these days could only be overheated. The Formula 1 World Championship will begin on Friday 5 April, with the first qualifying round of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Like every year, the rituals preceding the championship are repeated. The pilots, almost all already on site, take a few days to relax before jumping into the new adventure that will last until November. We talk, discuss, make predictions, express hopes and fears. The summary of the matter, however, is always the same. McLaren team to beat, all the others launched in pursuit, some with concrete theoretical possibilities to fight on equal terms with Prost and Lauda, ​​some with the aim of only having a good season. However, something has changed compared to the past. Niki Lauda made school and this is the first feedback that can be made of the 1985 World Championship on a human level. It is not the effective running technique of the three-times Austrian World Champion that has made converts, but his psycho-physical preparation. 


Almost everyone (there are a few exceptions) adapted over the winter, turning into pilot-athletes. Talent is no longer considered enough to win. It takes great resistance to fatigue, effort, a lucidity that allows you to complete often very demanding races. Almost everyone has lost 6-7 kilos of weight, they have carried out meticulous preparation on the gymnastic plan with different methods, they follow strict diets. Alcohol and smoking are almost prohibited (only Rosberg and De Angelis allow themselves a cigarette from time to time). Even in Rio, where there is no shortage of good restaurants, Alain Prost can be seen ordering salad, steak and fruit, Riccardo Patrese and Eddie Cheever prefer the swimming pool and gym to discos. In short, this motor sport which in Clay Regazzoni's time (and even before) was practiced empirically, now follows the dictates of a scientific set-up, as if the cars were also the drivers. Michele Alboreto says:


"It is normal that we have reached this point. Maybe Niki Lauda was a forerunner, but the road was forced. When you have to cover 10.000 kilometers of trials in winter and then compete in at least sixteen high-level races, you can't make mistakes considering physical and mental fitness a secondary factor. I myself have been training intensely with a specific program since October".


However, being physically prepared is not enough to win races. We also need a competitive single-seater.


"Let's say that in a small percentage, even health is crucial. It is used for concentration, to express oneself to the fullest at all times. Let's not forget that Formula 1 requires perfect reflexes, reaction times measured in tenths of a second. It's also clear that if the car isn't good, every effort is frustrated, however I'm not asking Ferrari to have the fastest single-seater of all. It would be enough for me to be in the best lot. And at this point the driver's qualities will emerge, which are driving skills, determination and form".


In this regard, Niki Lauda is not very optimistic on the eve of next season. He considers a new success for McLaren difficult and already indicates his favorites: they are Michele Alboreto and René Arnoux with Ferrari, and Elio De Angelis and Ayrton Senna with Lotus-Renault. The World Champion says:


"My favorites for 1985 are Ferrari and Lotus. In the tests of the last few months they have been clearly the fastest. Afterwards I think of Brabham, which however is an unknown factor, due to the Pirelli tyres".


But Alain Prost is a candidate to win the World Championship.


"He's wrong. We don't even know if McLaren will be as competitive as last year. What Prost says doesn't worry me. He said the same things last year, then you all saw how it turned out. However, it is impossible to make predictions".


After so many words, finally on Friday 5 April 1985 we move on to the facts. The Formula 1 circus makes its official debut with the first qualifying session of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Thus the World Championship begins, in the most classic way, on the Jacarepaguà circuit, scorching with the sun, with a charge of anticipation and curiosity that makes the eve even more spasmodic. It is the same protagonists, pilots, technicians, mechanics who feed this tension. After fifteen months of stops and tests, the world of Grand Prix awaits this day almost like a liberation. There is interest, there are many innovations, challenges already launched and to be launched. Although the main theme of the championship is already known. Bernie Ecclestone says:


"This is the beauty of Formula 1, you start over every time. Every time it's about offering the fans the best possible show. My personal wish is that there is battle in all races, balance and competitiveness".


The clever English manager's speech prompts a question. What are the prospects for Formula 1 for the future, in the social and technological sporting arena?


"We have always tried to be at the forefront in everything. In terms of professionalism and organization. We have also gone through very difficult moments, full of controversies. But we came out of it with good will. We will try to make ever more precise regulations, to nip every attempt to cheat the cards was born. We took and gave from technology, worked as an advanced point for certain experiments, for solutions which were then poured into large-scale automotive production".


The astute Ecclestone does not wish to make predictions, since he is directly interested in the results:


"I only hope that, as I have already said, it will be a great World Championship, exciting and uncertain right up to the last minute. Obviously I hope my team is among the protagonists but I think McLaren, Lotus, Williams, Renault and Ferrari won't leave us much room to take it easy. I am convinced that Ferrari will be the real surprise of 1985".


Called into question, the Maranello team defends itself with prudence. There is a lot of confidence in the new car, the 156, awaiting the response from the race. Michele Alboreto and René Arnoux do not hide their ambitions, their intentions at all, but they are wishes and not predictions. Italian is explicit:


"I always see McLaren (with Prost in the front row, Lauda in second) as opponents to be taken into consideration. Without forgetting Williams with Rosberg and Mansell, Lotus with De Angelis who is in no way inferior to the much-vaunted Senna. I'd bet a little less on the Brabham, based on the winter tests, but this is just a personal impression. The only real trouble is that I was hoping for a mistake of presumption on the part of the McLaren designers. I hoped that, to take it one step further, they would substantially modify the cars. Instead they have only made small adjustments to the new tires and so they won't have much work to set up their cars".


Reasoning, hopes, predictions. Everything will have an initial answer as early as Friday, when the first provisional starting line-up will be compiled at 2:00 pm. And the response from the first day of testing of the season highlights a dark threat to the Formula 1 World Championship. The session is dominated by Lotus, as happened last year, but this time the advantage of the English team appears more substantial. Elio De Angelis, in great shape, sets the best time and lap record. He is followed by his teammate, Ayrton Senna. The Italian driver laps in 1'28"081, at an average speed of 205.624 km/h, beating the Brazilian by more than 0.6 seconds. In third position, the solid and aggressive Ferrari of Michele Alboreto, which sets a time of 1'28"899 , just 0.001 seconds more than last year. The timesheets continue with Alain Prost, Patrick Tambay, Niki Lauda and René Arnoux, all more clearly separated than the first three. Lotus' performance is impressive, and it must be said that the British team also managed to catch their rivals by surprise. Technician Gerard Ducarouge has found new aerodynamic solutions that seem to give positive results. These are two ailerons placed at the end of the side panels and two large fixed deflectors located behind the rear wheels. Elio De Angelis says radiantly: Technician Gerard Ducarouge has found new aerodynamic solutions that seem to give positive results. These are two ailerons placed at the end of the side panels and two large fixed deflectors located behind the rear wheels. Elio De Angelis says radiantly: Technician Gerard Ducarouge has found new aerodynamic solutions that seem to give positive results. These are two ailerons placed at the end of the side panels and two large fixed deflectors located behind the rear wheels. Elio De Angelis says radiantly:


"This variant allowed us to gain at least 0.3 seconds per lap. To be honest, we expected even greater progress, but that's okay too".


The Italian driver does not hide the satisfaction of having given a good jab at Ayrton Senna, considered one of the most promising youngsters and his rival within the team. It remains to be seen whether the arrangements adopted by Lotus will be immediately copied or otherwise imitated by some other team. In Formula 1 there is always something to learn. For the moment, McLaren seems to have lost the superiority demonstrated in 1984. But perhaps it is too early to draw conclusions. Niki Lauda says, smiling:


"Everything is fine".


He's happy... The Austrian, however, saw his predictions of a not too easy start to the World Championship confirmed. At Ferrari, satisfaction is moderate. The car is fine, there are no particular problems. But Michele Alboreto says:


"However he has to give me more. It has a superior potentiate, it's just about being able to focus on better solutions".


René Arnoux is strangely happy with his seventh place, almost 2 seconds behind his teammate:


"I can't complain because on my fastest lap I found Piquet going very slowly and I had to slow down. I'm sure that in the second round I will be able to climb higher".


The day highlights a Renault making progress on the Imola tests (fifth time for Tambay) and a Brabham struggling on a circuit that is not congenial to it, according to Nelson Piquet.


"In any case, we are not yet ready with the qualifying tyres. The racing ones should be excellent while we have to work for the others. We'll get there".


For Alfa Romeo it was a shift without praise and without infamy. A difficult start, to discover the problems of the cars (the Italian team had not supported the last tests in Rio) then the improvement with the insertion of harder springs. On Saturday both Riccardo Patrese and Eddie Cheever will try to recover from eleventh and fourteenth position. The debut of the Minardi took place without particular suffering, even if the car does not go beyond the last time, clearly detached. The pilot, Pierluigi Martini, didn't know the track, and with a naturally aspirated engine you can't expect much. The same goes for Osella, who basically started the season in Brazil without having had the chance to complete the trials supported by all the other teams. Overall there were no sensational surprises, the script was fulfilled with everyone attacking McLaren. The technological gap between the cars driven by Lauda and Prost and the others has been shaken, but the last word has not been said. We are just starting out and in Formula 1 many things can change overnight. However, it will be difficult to unseat Lotus in Brazil. Perhaps only Michele Alboreto with the Ferrari, if he manages to perform a miracle of skill in setting up the car and finding a good lap, he will have the possibility of entering the challenge to conquer the front row. However, it will be difficult to unseat Lotus in Brazil. Perhaps only Michele Alboreto with the Ferrari, if he manages to perform a miracle of skill in setting up the car and finding a good lap, he will have the possibility of entering the challenge to conquer the front row. However, it will be difficult to unseat Lotus in Brazil. Perhaps only Michele Alboreto with the Ferrari, if he manages to perform a miracle of skill in setting up the car and finding a good lap, he will have the possibility of entering the challenge to conquer the front row. On the other hand, the young German Stefan Bellof had an unpleasant surprise on Friday morning when he went to the Tyrrell garage to get into his car, but found the place occupied by the Swede Stefan Johansson. What happened? There was an argument between Stefan Bellof and Ken Tyrrell, probably due to a question of engagement. The driver's manager, Willy Maurer, stepped in and the English manufacturer balked. 


And it hired Stefan Johansson, who was free due to Toleman's defection (the British team, which had hired John Watson and Stefan Johansson, announced its intention to abandon the championship due to the lack of a supply of tyres). However, the matter will not end like this. And Ken Tyrrell hopes to get along with Stefan Bellof within a couple of races.


"My interlocutor is the pilot. I don't want to talk to the manager, to the tout. You will see that we will find a solution before Imola. For the moment I have taken this Swede that goes very fast. We will see".


It was also rumored in the pits that one of the two, either Stefan Bellof or Stefan Johansson, could end up at Ferrari as third driver in the near future. But they are the usual rumors, for the moment without any foundation. Meanwhile, with regard to the Maranello team, the F1 World Championship opens with a sharp note from the Scuderia Ferrari. Saturday 6 April 1985 Michele Albereto conquers the pole position for today's Brazilian Grand Prix, during the second qualifying session, recording the new absolute record of the Jacarepaguà circuit after lapping in 1'27"768, at an average of 206.357 Km/h The balance sheet of the Maranello team is completed by the seventh place of René Arnoux, less brilliant than his teammate, also preceded in today's race by Rosberg, De Angelis, Senna, Mansell and Prost. Elio De Angelis was unable to defend his position of leader obtained on Friday. Twice, when he tries to improve his time, the Italian driver is faced with a slower car (first Ghinzani's Osella, then Johansson's Tyrrell) and is forced to slow down. However, the exploits of Michele Albereto and the single-seater from Maranello must not give rise to excessive illusions of success. The chances of a successful debut are there, but Ferrari is very cautious in making predictions. In the field, moreover, the focus is still on McLaren, despite Prost being sixth and Lauda ninth, with Ferrari in the role of the first outsider and the surprising Williams of Rosberg detached by just 0.096 seconds from Alboreto, in the role of formidable rival. Obviously ne! Prediction also includes the Lotus of De Angelis and Senna, and the very fast Brabham of Piquet (the Brazilian reaches 326 km/h at the end of the main straight, against the 309 km/h of the Ferrari). There are also lesser possibilities for the Renaults, struggling with unexplained brake defects (Tambay went off the track five times, the last time at 250km/h, knocking down two crash nets and damaging his car quite seriously). The reason why McLaren can still be considered the car to beat is simple. 


Even last year the Anglo-German team was not unapproachable in practice, but had an edge in the race, thanks also to lower fuel consumption than the majority of their opponents. A car that has been changed very little and apparently enjoys excellent reliability. It is above all for this reason that in the Maranello team's garage there is no talk of triumphalism: everything is yet to be verified in terms of grip. And then racing is made up of too many factors. Without forgetting that the growth of Williams must be taken into due consideration. The development of the Honda engine continues and it is said that a more than 1000 HP engine for racing will arrive in June. For the moment, the Japanese engineers have already developed a supercharging system that adjusts the pressure of the turbo automatically, depending on the speed of the car. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving and for Williams to obtain optimum power at every point on the circuit. Rosberg is energetic and generally, when the Finn feels fit, everyone is in trouble. There are also other considerations to make: last year Ferrari had obtained second place behind De Angelis at this circuit. However, on this occasion the Maranello car improved a lot, by 1.1 seconds. The McLaren however only progressed by 0.2 seconds. This is a significant figure, in favor of Ferrari. For the rest there are no other competitors able to worry the best. Alfa Romeo performed only discreetly, with Riccardo Patrese in P14 and Eddie Cheever in P18. There is still too much work to be done on the new cars, and driving problems due to the set-up of the cars themselves. As far as the other Italian teams are concerned, not much could be expected from Osella, who had practically not carried out a single test since the beginning of the World Championship. and by Minardi, which runs with a naturally aspirated engine placed in a false way on a car that was supposed to house a turbocharged one. For them, it's just a matter of gaining experience and seeing what they'll be able to do when the new car arrives (at Imola for the Turin manufacturer) and Carlo Chiti's six-cylinder engine (for the team from Romagna). 


So there is a lot of excitement in the pits after practice. Nobody seems happy. Only Niki Lauda is in brilliant condition, and he comments positively on the result of the tests: For them, it's just a matter of gaining experience and seeing what they'll be able to do when the new car arrives (at Imola for the Turin manufacturer) and Carlo Chiti's six-cylinder engine (for the team from Romagna). So there is a lot of excitement in the pits after practice. Nobody seems happy. Only Niki Lauda is in brilliant condition, and comments on the result of the tests in a positive way: For them, it's just a matter of gaining experience and seeing what they'll be able to do when the new car arrives (at Imola for the Turin manufacturer) and Carlo Chiti's six-cylinder engine (for the team from Romagna). So there is a lot of excitement in the pits after practice. Nobody seems happy. Only Niki Lauda is in brilliant condition, and comments on the result of the tests in a positive way:


"It's always been like this, even last year, and I always had to start from the back, but then I got to the finish line well. Our car for the race is very balanced, and we should also be able to come back. I don't want to be a braggart, but I feel that the race will go well".


Lauda's optimism matches the caution present in the Ferrari garage. Michael Alboreto. very happy with his performance, calmly preaches:


"Our car can still be improved. It's quite good, but I don't want to go too far. There are too many things to see in the race to indulge in a rash prediction. After the race I will speak more clearly".


There is much bitterness for Elio De Angelis. The Italian with his Lotus is the only one of the best not to improve on Friday's time:


"I'm haunted by bad luck, because I was convinced that I could go a little further. I don't know if I would have beaten Alboreto, but given the progress everyone has made, I think I would have been at least on par with Ferrari. This I am very sorry. But I can't blame myself. I found two cars going slow around the circuit and that's part of the game. I'll try to make up for it in the race".


Nelson Piquet is moderately quiet. The Brazilian improved his starting position a little and his Brabham was almost a missile: the 326 km/h reached at the end of the straight are scary. Evidently, however, the car is not as good in the big corners, where it is perhaps in difficulty.


"Of course, if we were the fastest everywhere by now I'd be two seconds ahead of everyone. Unfortunately our car will do very well only on circuits particularly suited to the power of the engine. The thing that comforts me is that in two days of prone we didn't have the slightest breakdown of engines and turbines: this is a good indication, if we consider that last year I was always at a standstill".


The performance of Michele Alboreto, who gave his all in this qualifying, must have in any case given Enzo Ferrari a boost of confidence, who was anxiously awaiting the news from Brazil in his office in Maranello. Enzo Ferrari learned with satisfaction of Michele Alboreto's time and this will certainly contribute to keeping him in excellent health, even if some unfounded rumors said that he was not in great shape these days. An excellent start, therefore, for Ferrari, we'll see if in the race he will be able to conclude the company in the best way. Sunday 7 April 1985, before the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Elio De Angelis was forced to change the engine of his Lotus. A Renault EF15 engine was also mounted on Derek Warwick's car, while Gerhard Berger tackled the Grand Prix with the reserve car, as a fire had broken out on the owner's car. The high temperatures force the tire specialists to supply very hard compounds, but the great abrasiveness of the track casts doubt on the need to make two stops to change tyres. Keke Rosberg is the author of an excellent start, which takes him to the lead, ahead of Michele Alboreto. The other Williams driver, Nigel Mansell also found an excellent starting point, which allowed him to pass Alain Prost and the two Lotuses. The British also immediately attacks Michele Alboreto: the two cars come into contact with the tires and the Briton's car goes off the track, ending up in the escape route. 


Mansell is helped by marshals to get back on track, albeit with a damaged car. There are, however, no problems for the Ferrari driver, who remains in second position. Thierry Boutsen remains stationary on the grid, so much so that he needs a push to be able to start. The race ends early for Nelson Piquet, forced to retire, already during the seventh lap, due to a problem with a suspension, damaged by passing over a curb. In the first laps Keke Rosberg manages the advantage over Michele Alboreto, to try to save the tyres. For his part, the Italian driver finds himself driving an understeering car. This favored the closeness of Alain Prost, third. Nonetheless, Michele Alboreto moved into first position during the tenth lap, when Keke Rosberg was forced to abandon the race due to a turbo failure. During lap 14 Niki Lauda moved into third position after passing Ayrton Senna. During lap 18 Alain Prost climbed into first position, taking advantage of a shifting error by Michele Alboreto, at the Vitoria corner. Alain Prost will say at the end of the race:


"In my opinion, Alboreto made the wrong gear and it was easy to overtake".


But the opinion of the Italian driver is different:


"I went a little wide into the corner, hit a curb while I was changing gear and the jolt prevented me from carrying out the maneuver quickly. I lost speed and on the next straight the Frenchman passed me easily".


In the meantime Niki Lauda also gets close to Michele Alboreto, but during the 25th lap the Austrian is forced to return to the pits due to a fault with the electronic gearbox. During lap 26 Elio De Angelis, fourth, returned to the pits to change tyres. The Italian rider returns to the race in sixth position, behind Andrea De Cesaris. During lap 27, the Ligier driver collided with René Arnoux's car in the pit lane, which forced him to retire. René Arnoux was forced to complete a full lap with a punctured tire to return to the pit lane. During lap 30 both Alain Prost and Michele Alboreto stop to change tyres. The Frenchman maintains the lead of the race, while the Italian driver goes out behind Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian stops, however, during the next lap, giving the second position back to Michele Alboreto. Behind the first three follow Elio De Angelis, Patrick Tambay, Philippe Alliot and Jacques Laffite. Meanwhile Alain Prost easily widens his margin on Michele Alboreto. In the rear Philippe Alliot, left with only five gears, had to give the position first to Jacques Laffite, then to the comeback René Arnoux. The Frenchman also passed Jacques Laffite on lap 40. Three laps later Ayrton Senna was also forced to retire with his engine out. René Arnoux's comeback continued when, on lap 52, he also got the better of Patrick Tambay. Alain Prost wins the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Frenchman precedes Michele Alboreto (the only one at full speed, like Alain Prost) and Elio De Angelis, while the rest of the points zone is monopolized by French riders: René Arnoux, Patrick Tambay and Jacques Laffite. Nine laps for Keke Rosberg, eight with Alboreto in the lead, then the almost solitary escape of Alain Prost which ended with the victory of the Frenchman. This is the synthesis of a competition which, however, has a much more complex history, full of episodes, even controversial ones, of twists and turns, fought by the protagonists with all their energies on a day in which nervous tension, physical and mental stress had their share. The race took place under a fiery sun that was at the limit of the endurance of the pilots and the solicitation of the cars. McLaren's success has never been in doubt since Alain Prost took the lead. The English team thus obtained the eighth consecutive victory, an absolute record that surpasses that of Ferrari (which won in seven races one after the other in 1952 and 1953) if we consider the 1984 season and the one that has just begun in a single block. But it was a somewhat more difficult victory than the previous ones, also determined by a series of facts that made Alain Prost's task easier. Niki Lauda flees immediately after the Grand Prix. Calm, serene, just a little sorry for the missed opportunity, the Austrian says, before leaving: also determined by a series of facts that facilitated Alain Prost's task. Niki Lauda flees immediately after the Grand Prix. Calm, serene, just a little sorry for the missed opportunity, the Austrian says, before leaving: also determined by a series of facts that facilitated Alain Prost's task. Niki Lauda flees immediately after the Grand Prix. Calm, serene, just a little sorry for the missed opportunity, the Austrian says, before leaving:


"I had a good start, I had already made up many places. The failure of the electronic injection computer blocked me. I could have had a good race. If I didn't finish first, I was at least second. Now a new pursuit of Prost begins immediately".


A joke for a pilot called a robot, to be stopped by a computer. On the other hand, no problem for Alain Prost, who starts well, without the slightest inconvenience.


“I let Rosberg and Alboreto vent and I knew immediately that I could go get them. So it was. I saved the tires and then raced calmly”.


The Frenchman throws a jab at Ferrari.


"It was the first time we raced on Goodyear tyres. We chose the toughest ones, while they started with the soft ones on the left. Who knows if the race was ultimately decided precisely by this move. However, the Maranello team is the only one that can worry us right now. They will be our main opponents in the World Championship".


The McLaren driver continues:


"Our car is fantastic, better than last year's. It has even better driveability, it's practically perfect even if in this race I had some fuel problems in the final stages. I wanted a win, because it's the only way to immediately put all rivals at a distance for the title".


The English team, however, risked a lot. In the afternoon, when the scrutineering was carried out, someone breathed a sigh of relief. Alain Prost's car weighed 545 kilos (5 kilos more than the minimum allowed) with ten liters of petrol, which are the equivalent of about 8.5 kg. This means that in theory McLaren is underweight. If the race had been held over 63 laps (instead of 61) as planned, he could have risked a sensational disqualification. Unless the English and Porsche technicians have calculated everything perfectly. These data perhaps also explain Alain Prost's excessive slowdown in the final laps. The French lost about twenty seconds, running the risk of being caught up by Michele Alboreto who arrived with a gap of just 3 seconds. The Lotus, 564 kilos, with 18 liters of petrol was also checked at the checks. A comforting result for the English team which, after McLaren and Ferrari, was the absolute best. Good news also for the Renault engine which perhaps solved the fuel consumption problems, at least on the Lotus: the French factory team on the other hand (apart from the lucky fifth place of a strong-willed Tambay) is always very far from having a competitive car. The 156 lived up to expectations: the overall result of the Maranello car was positive. In terms of points, Ferrari collected the same number as McLaren, bringing two drivers to the finish line in the top six. If we consider that it was a completely new single-seater, the balance is positive. However, satisfaction in the Maranello team's box is moderate and measured. The comment of the sporting director, Marco Piccinini, is exemplary:


"We are only one sixteenth of the championship, equal to about six percent of the races to be run. We haven't had any particular problems, we can and must still make progress".


More emphatic, however, Michele Alboreto. which second place looks great:


"Honestly, I didn't expect more. I had already said on the eve that pole position didn't give me too many illusions. We have however shown that we are almost on par with McLaren and I think that. if something unforeseen doesn't happen, we will be able to annoy and even beat our opponents. If there hadn't been some inconvenience, I might have already been able to win in Brazil".


The Italian driver refers to the start that conditioned his entire race and to overtaking Alain Prost, which took place too easily due to his uncertainty.


"At the start I didn't want to compromise the use of the tires with a forced action. When I saw Rosberg leaving, I let him. Because I knew I had a chance to get through it. I also found Mansell next to me, and I noticed his Williams aiming at me in the center of the cockpit, to try and slip into the corner. So I hit him with the front wheel. It went well, but the tire went out of alignment, deteriorating immediately. This compromised the first part of my race. When I changed the tyres, we had the same performance with the McLaren, in fact, I recovered".


The Ferrari driver continues:


"On the action of overtaking I found myself in difficulty. I went a little long in the corner, I hit a curb while I was changing. I put into third gear a moment late and that was enough for me to pass".


However, there was an inconsistency in Michele Alboreto's explanation. If in the first part of the race he had a tire out of place, why didn't he stop immediately on the twenty-first lap when they signaled him to come back from the pits, but did he only stop after the twenty-ninth lap? He probably continued so as not to compromise the continuation of the race, immediately changing the tires which had a limited duration of about thirty laps at a high performance level. This unexpected event caused confusion in the Ferrari pits where René Arnoux was also due to return at that moment. The Frenchman thus carried out his maneuver with haste and was the cause of the rear-end collision by De Cesaris. René Arnoux arrived in a fury towards the deceleration lane and probably the Italian driver, who with his Ligier was a few centimeters from the Ferrari, thought it was just a rather risky maneuver. Thus, when René suddenly braked, Andrea De Cesaris involuntarily hit the rear wheel of the French driver's car.


"That's okay too. I suffered a lot, but I managed to finish fourth in the standings. The car is going well, I only noticed a little understeer, but we are with the best, that is with McLaren. Now the Estoril circuit awaits us, where I hope to have an even more concrete and positive race".


Controversy and discussions have inflamed the after-race of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Nothing serious, because the pilots behave civilly, but everyone gives their own version of the facts. De Andrea Cesaris, guilty of having rear-ended René Arnoux, says:


"He braked suddenly, I couldn't help it, as I was right behind him. He had to stop in the pits but he hadn't done anything to make me understand, not even a slowdown. In the same way last year in Zandvoort he risked a bad accident for Boutsen".


This is how Rene Arnoux defends himself:


"I was all about the right. The trajectory at that point is completely to the left. I thought she understood my intention to stop. Even when you're on the run, you must never lose control of the situation".


There was a real brawl on the track between Riccardo Patrese and Jacques Laffite. The Italian, struggling with a difficult car to drive, did everything possible not to be overtaken. For a certain putito the Frenchman, after making gestures from the passenger compartment, tried everything with a thrilling overtaking. But he touched the rear tire of the Alfa Romeo with the front wing. The tire resisted for a few hundred meters, then exploded.


"I struggled a lot to keep the car on track, risking getting stuck somewhere. That's not how you run".


His teammate, Eddie Cheever, is accused by François Hesnault:


"Eddie was wrestling with Laffite and I was following carefully. At one point they both came out in the grass. I widened to pass, but the Alfa was back on track. It hit me right in, destroying the nose of my Brabham. I am convinced that he could have paid more attention, but instead he didn't pay attention to whoever arrived".


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