Grand Prix Classic




Round 6 - Detroit Grand Prix
Detroit, 21-23 June, 1985

With the cancellation of the Dallas Grand Prix, originally intended to open the season, Detroit was left as the only Grand Prix to be held in the United States in 1985. While things had improved since the series' first chaotic visit to the street circuit in 1982, the track was still quite unpopular with the drivers thanks to its' concrete walls, rough surface and slow 90-degree corners. However, it was often seen as a chance for smaller teams to get a result due to the high attrition and lower emphasis on outright speed.

Detroit was, of course, the headquarters of Ford, and they chose to announce their first turbocharged Formula 1 engine. The V6, built again by Cosworth (the company behind the long-serving DFV V8) would be exclusively available to Carl Haas' new Beatrice-Lola team, who signed a three-year deal to run from 1986 to 1988.


Entry Notes

With the teams and drivers having come straight from Canada, there were no changes to the entry.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

After the usual accident-stricken first day of practice seen at most street races, the second day was rendered useless by the presence of rain, meaning Friday afternoon's session decided the grid. For the fourth time in 1986, Senna took pole in his Lotus - some 1.2 seconds ahead of Mansell's Williams, second beside the Brazilian on the grid.

The rain didn't actually affect things all that much, the order largely being as expected. Alboreto and Prost were 3rd and 4th ahead of Rosberg, Warwick, Cheever, de Angelis (in his spare after crashing into Tambay on Friday morning), Johansson and Piquet.

Only the Arrows team really suffered - Boutsen was down in 21st, while Berger failed to record a time after his car was badly damaged when marshals dropped it from a crane. The Austrian was one of only seven drivers to venture out on the Saturday (the others being the odd grab-bag of Alliot, Cheever, Ghinzani and de Cesaris, while Fabi and Patrese both had brief runs without completing a timed lap). While his effort was the fastest of the day, it was some 23 seconds off pole and left Berger 24th - the Austrian still having done better than Martini in the Minardi.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

Thankfully the weather had cleared up by the morning warm-up and held for the race itself on Sunday afternoon. It was Mansell who made the best start, leading Senna into the first corner, while Rosberg also made a superb getaway, nearly taking Prost but instead having to settle for 4th. Senna was back in front by the third turn, however. Behind, Prost was coming under attack from Rosberg and soon being pushed back to 4th, with Cheever watching the pair of them closely and Alboreto behind the Alfa after a poor start. The American's challenge would be derailed when he was forced to pit at the end of the first lap with a puncture, however.

Rosberg was charging, and was soon past Mansell and pressing Senna. He was soon past the Lotus - Senna was running too conservative a tyre compound, and darted into the pits to get a new set. Sadly, the stop - which dropped him to 14th - saw exactly the same tyres fitted. This left Rosberg in the lead from Mansell (the first time Williams cars had ran 1-2 since the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix). Behind, Prost, Alboreto and Warwick were all suffering brake problems, and all were easy meat for de Angelis, leaving the Italian third and gaining quickly on Mansell. Johansson was also on the move, passing Prost and then his team-mate to sit 4th.

Both Tyrrell drivers were running well, and Lauda's retirement with fading brakes left Brundle in 8th with Bellof 9th close behind - so close behind he hit the back of Brundle at one point, losing the cover for his nosecone. As with the damage he picked up at Estoril, the change didn't seem to particularly affect the exuberant German, who pressed on regardless. Brundle then passed the troubled Prost to sit 6th, his nimble Cosworth car handling superbly. Further drama was provided by Senna, who clipped a tyre wall at Turn 3 trying to get on terms with his Lotus. While the Brazilian continued, a bound stack of tyres sat in the middle of the track. They were removed by marshals shortly before Tambay span into the opposing wall at the same corner, and drove against traffic towards the escape road - nearly going head-on into Surer before parking the bent Renault up safely.

Rosberg had built up a lead of 20 seconds of Mansell (struggling with brake and tyre problems and soon to pit for a fresh set of Goodyears), but some concern was caused when a discarded plastic bag blew into his right-hand sidepod, blocking the radiator. Prost was the next victim of Turn 3, where the tarmac was breaking up badly, who was caught out by fading brakes and slammed into the wall. Mansell was next to go - tyres hadn't solved his braking issues, and after losing third to Johansson he span, and then went head-on into the area bereft of tyres after Senna's brush, sustaining mild concussion and a jarred thumb. The marshals, once again without the benefit of cranes, took four laps to remove the stricken Williams.

This left Brundle 4th and gaining on Johansson, but he was focusing too much on the car ahead and was taken by surprise when Alboreto, having backed off and allowed his brakes to cool after being passed by the Tyrrell, nipped back in front. The battle briefly became one for third place as de Angelis headed into the pits, having had his car's nose broken when trying to lap Berger, but a lap later Brundle was out. As they came up to lap Alliot's misfiring RAM, the Frenchman let Alboreto pass but didn't notice Brundle, moving over to take his normal line into the corner and smashing into the Tyrrell. It was an unfortunate end to a fine drive, but at least Tyrrell had some consolation as Bellof took over the place.

This left just 13 survivors on the track, with Rosberg leading comfortably from Johansson. Alboreto was beginning to catch up to his team-mate with Bellof also running well behind, while Senna had stopped again and finally got the right tyres. The Brazilian was now in a charging 5th ahead of his unhappy team-mate de Angelis, who had been given the nose off the spare - with Senna's settings, largely incompatible with the rest of the car. Bellof was no match for the fired-up Senna when caught, the Lotus simply blasting past on the straight and setting off after the Ferrari drivers.

Rosberg, meanwhile, had noticed his engine temperature rising and dived into the pits on lap 50. There, Patrick Head fished the plastic bag out of the car's sidepod and was fitted with fresh tyres. He returned still ahead of Johansson, but the Ferrari now had him in sight. Senna was gaining on the lot of them at a rate of knots, but was another to crash at Turn 3 - the Brazilian hadn't scored since that win in Portugal. Johansson's challenge ended when his front brakes disappeared, and both Ferrari cars limped home. Bellof might have passed both of them, but was himself struggling with a slipping clutch. As it was, despite more litter being sucked into his sidepod and unhappy that his perfect tyres had been changed for cooler ones when stopping, Rosberg was left to score his and Williams' first victory since the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix - another extreme race requiring maximum precision and concentration. In fifth came de Angelis, while Piquet quietly scored Brabham's first point of the season in a lapped 6th place.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
63
1h 55m 39.851s
5
2
Stefan Johansson Ferrari
63
+ 57.549s
9
3
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
63
+ 1m 03.570s
3
4
Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth
63
+ 1m 06.625s
19
5
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
63
+ 1m 27.442s
8
6
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
62
+ 1 lap
10
7
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW
62
+ 1 lap
21
8
Marc Surer Brabham-BMW
62
+ 1 lap
11
9
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
61
+ 2 laps
7
10
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
61
+ 2 laps
17
11
Gerhard Berger Arrows-BMW
60
+ 3 laps
24
12
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault
58
+ 5 laps/Accident
16
R
Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault
51
Accident
1
R
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth
30
Accident/Alliot
18
R
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart
27
Accident/Brundle
23
R
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda
26
Accident
2
R
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
19
Accident
4
R
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
19
Electrics
14
R
Derek Warwick Renault
18
Transmission
6
R
Patrick Tambay Renault
15
Accident
15
R
Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Motori Moderni
11
Engine
25
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
10
Brakes
12
R
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
4
Clutch
13
R
Manfred Winkelhock RAM-Hart
3
Turbo
20
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
0
Accident
22

Fastest Lap: Ayrton Senna (Lotus), 1:45.612s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Michele Alboreto
31
2
Elio de Angelis
24
3
Alain Prost
22
4
Stefan Johansson
13
5
Keke Rosberg
12
6
Patrick Tambay
10
7
Ayrton Senna
9
8
Thierry Boutsen
6
9
Nigel Mansell
5
10
Stefan Bellof
4
11
Niki Lauda
3
=
Andrea de Cesaris
3
=
Rene Arnoux
3
14
Derek Warwick
2
=
Jacques Laffite
2
16
Nelson Piquet
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
44
2
Lotus
33
3
McLaren
25
4
Williams
17
5
Renault
12
6
Arrows
6
7
Ligier
5
8
Tyrrell
4
9
Brabham
1