Grand Prix Classic




Round 4 - Monaco Grand Prix
Monaco, 16-19 May, 1985

There had been much debate over the winter as to whether the Monaco Grand Prix would actually be going ahead for the 1985 season. The problem was that the Monaco organisers had negotiated an independent television deal for the race, something FOCA took umbrage to, and the race was scratched from the provisional calendar. However, such is the prestige and popularity of the event (especially with sponsors) that few believed that a deal wouldn't be reached, and there was no surprise when it was reinstated as the fourth round of the championship.

After the San Marino Grand Prix had featured an equally-matched battle between McLaren, Lotus and Ferrari, the race was eagerly anticipated, especially considering the controversial nature of the foreshortened 1984 edition which had seen Prost and Senna battle for the lead in the wet.


Entry Notes

After missing the first three rounds of the series, Toleman were finally present. However, there had been some changes made to facilitate this. The Italian Benetton clothing company had grown tired of the poor performance of the Alfa Romeo team they sponsored, and reached a deal with Toleman (while still honouring the remainder of their deal with Alfa). This gave Toleman the funds to acquire the Pirelli contract of the Spirit team, who - in dire financial trouble anyway - withdrew from the series. Due to the terms of the contract, Toleman could only enter a single car, and Benetton requested an Italian driver. John Watson didn't fit the bill, and so Teo Fabi was instead hired to drive the car.

The only other change to the entry, therefore, was the absence of Baldi and the Spirit team, who planned to return in 1986 with a brand new car once they had raised sufficient sponsorship.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

Once again it was Senna who took pole position, after a thrilling battle with Mansell and Alboreto. Behind that trio came Cheever (a shock non-qualifier in 1984) after a superb performance in the Alfa Romeo. Prost lined up fifth, with Boutsen once again impressing in the Arrows with sixth. Senna had caused controversy when Peter Warr sent him out on used tyres in the closing minutes of Saturday's session with the intention to block the laps of others - Senna was reluctant, and set second fastest time in the session before being nudged up an escape road by an irate Alboreto.

Rosberg, plagued by turbo problems and traffic, was 7th, ahead of de Cesaris (in a heavily revised lightweight Ligier), de Angelis and Warwick. Patrese was 2nd on Thursday, but slipped to 12th overall, while Lauda was back in 14th after angrily confronting Senna for baulking him on Saturday. Johansson was 15th after a crash in the second session, while Fabi made it in at 20th, a good performance considering the limited running done by the package (with a brief shakedown at Paul Ricard the only experience Fabi had with the car, and the team with the tyres).

Non-qualifiers included Ghinzani, Bellof, the RAMs (both drivers having accidents in their efforts) and Martini, who crashed badly on Thursday, injuring his knee and taking no further part in the session.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The forecast had been for rain, but the start was dry, if overcast. Senna once again converted pole position as he left the grid with Mansell and Alboreto behind, and Prost alongside Cheever. Further back, Berger struggled to get going and was thumped by Tambay, with Johansson also caught up. The Arrows and the Renault were out on the spot (while Tambay had gone no further than in 1984, at least he wasn't injured this time) while Johansson visited the pits to see if anything could be done before throwing in the towel. The other Ferrari was going much better, Alboreto scrabbling past Mansell at Ste Devot on the start of the second lap, and setting out after Senna, with Prost and Cheever soon passing the Williams as well.

Cheever soon slowed with electrical trouble, losing out to de Angelis, Rosberg and Mansell before pulling off, shaking his head in fury. Further back there were two little groups battling away - Boutsen, de Cesaris and Warwick fighting for 7th, and Patrese in 10th fending off Lauda, Piquet, Laffite and Fabi. Senna's lead would only last until lap 14 as his Renault engine broke, the legacy of over-revving in the morning warm-up. This left Alboreto leading by about five seconds from Prost, and looking very assured while doing it.

However, he would lose the lead after four laps through no fault of his own. Patrese's Formula Ford tactics had already irritated Lauda, but the World Champion had got past and scampered away after the Williams pair. Now Piquet was getting more frustrated and on lap 17 managed to get a good run up the inside of the Alfa Romeo, at which point Patrese simply moved across and shoved his former Brabham team-mate into the armco on the inside of the run to Ste Devot in a shower of sparks. The pair of them slid disintegrating towards St Devote, a brief flash of flame appearing as the Alfa Romeo's oil tank went up, and had they have been anywhere else on the circuit the consequences could have been even more lurid. As it was, the main result was for both cars to shoot into the escape area, and cover Ste Devot with oil and debris.

Laffite, following closely, span avoiding them but managed to get going, while Fabi ground to a halt before continuing. Alboreto was soon on the scene and also slid to a halt. He kept the engine running and eventually set off, but the delay allowed Prost to nip into the lead. Lauda was even unluckier, skidding to a halt. He admitted himself that by the time he had registered the car had stopped before thumping a barrier he had stalled, and was left to retire an undamaged McLaren that was just starting to come into the race. Having survived the incident unscathed, Fabi then had to stop when the Hart engine broke a turbocharger.

Alboreto was only a couple of seconds behind Prost despite the spin, and soon wiped out the gap. At the start of lap 24 he then simply drove around the outside of Prost at the first corner, and then began to pull away. However, he never managed to get more than a handful of seconds in hand, and then halfway round lap 32 Alboreto slowed midway through the swimming pool complex, allowing Prost back in front. The Ferrari had picked up a slow left-rear puncture in the Piquet/Patrese debris, and reported to the pits accordingly. The delay dropped him to 4th after something of a panicked stop.

Prost now had a comfortable lead over de Angelis, who himself had a handy margin over the impressive de Cesaris, making good use of the revised Ligier to give Pirelli their best showing so far. Behind Alboreto came Warwick and a brake-troubled Rosberg, with the similarly-afflicted Mansell being caught by the recovering Laffite. Alboreto set a new lap record and soon dropped Warwick and moved up to de Cesaris' gearbox. He only spent a lap there before bravely diving up the inside at Mirabeau, and then set off after de Angelis.

He caught the Lotus on lap 61, and managed to squeeze past at Ste Devot as the Lotus car's brakes began to fade, but Prost was simply too far away. The skies began to darken and the last few laps saw a few drops of rain come down, but not enough to seriously affect anything. Prost's car began to smoke thanks to a broken wastegate burning excessive oil, and Alboreto started to take huge chunks of time out of the McLaren, but it never really looked like being more than a futile gesture. Third place behind them kept de Angelis in the championship lead, while de Cesaris was delighted with 4th. Warwick opened his 1985 account in 5th, while Laffite managed to get past Mansell a few laps from home to put both Ligiers in the points. Rosberg came behind his team-mate after a stop for tyres, with Boutsen, Brundle and Palmer all finishing despite various problems - remarkably for Monaco, Lauda had posted the final retirement, sixty laps from the end.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
78
1h 51m 58.034s
5
2
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
78
+ 7.541s
3
3
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
78
+ 1m 27.171s
9
4
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
77
+ 1 lap
8
5
Derek Warwick Renault
77
+ 1 lap
10
6
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault
77
+ 1 lap
16
7
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda
77
+ 1 lap
2
8
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
76
+ 2 laps
7
9
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW
76
+ 2 laps
6
10
Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed
74
+ 4 laps
19
11
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth
74
+ 4 laps
18
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
17
Spun off
14
R
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
16
Accident/Piquet
12
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
16
Accident/Patrese
13
R
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
16
Turbo
20
R
Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault
13
Engine
1
R
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
10
Electrical
4
R
Stefan Johansson Ferrari
1
Accident damage
15
R
Gerhard Berger Arrows-BMW
0
Accident/Tambay
11
R
Patrick Tambay Renault
0
Accident/Berger
17

Fastest Lap: Michele Alboreto (Ferrari), 1:22.637s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Elio de Angelis
20
2
Alain Prost
18
=
Michele Alboreto
18
4
Patrick Tambay
10
5
Ayrton Senna
9
6
Thierry Boutsen
6
7
Nigel Mansell
4
8
Niki Lauda
3
=
Andrea de Cesaris
3
=
Rene Arnoux
3
11
Derek Warwick
2
=
Jacques Laffite
2
13
Stefan Johansson
1
=
Stefan Bellof
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Lotus
29
2
McLaren
21
3
Ferrari
19
4
Renault
12
5
Arrows
6
6
Ligier
5
7
Williams
4
8
Tyrrell
1