Grand Prix Classic

Round 7 - French Grand Prix
Paul Ricard, 5-7 July, 1985
Team-by-Team Review

McLaren MP4/2B-TAG
1. Niki Lauda (Aut)
2. Alain Prost (Fr)

Smooth track suits car and drivers - Prost qualifies 4th and Lauda 6th. Prost drops to 7th at the start, but advances to 4th behind Lauda by lap 11. Both attack Rosberg without much joy until Lauda's gearbox breaks on lap 31. Prost finally gets by on lap 40 and unsuccessfully chases Piquet - then loses 2nd to a resurgent Rosberg on the last lap. Still, team feel back in the groove after difficult time in North America.

Tyrrell 014-Renault
3. Martin Brundle (GB)
Tyrrell 012-Cosworth
4. Stefan Bellof (Ger)

Brundle debuts new Renault-powered car. Qualifies 20th after numerous minor 'new car' troubles. Advances to 11th by lap 31, but gearbox breaks a lap later. Bellof, in sole DFY car and 30mph slower than front-runners on the Mistral straight, qualifies last despite his best efforts, and tours around to 13th place, three laps down.

Williams FW10-Honda
5. Nigel Mansell (GB)
6. Keke Rosberg (Fin)

Mansell sustains concussion after tyre failure on Mistral, and sits weekend out. Rosberg takes stunning pole position as Honda engine continues to develop. Holds off Senna to lead first ten laps, but has no response to Piquet. Fends off the McLarens for much of the race until stopping to replace too-soft tyres on lap 40. Resumes 4th, but passes de Angelis and then - on the last lap - Prost to finish fine 2nd.

Brabham BT54-BMW
7. Nelson Piquet (Brz)
8. Marc Surer (Swz)

Hot conditions and smooth track really suit Pirellis - Piquet qualifies 5th and Surer 13th. Piquet in stunning form from the start - to 3rd at the start, past Senna on lap 7 then Rosberg on lap 11, and scampers away to measured first victory for a year. Surer drives well to reach 6th by lap 19. Takes 5th when Lauda retires, but passed by Johansson. Forced to pit when tyres fade and then has valve break in engine, but finishes 8th, one lap down.

RAM 03-Hart
9. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)
10. Philippe Alliot (Fr)

Winkelhock qualifies 19th, with Alliot 22nd at his home race. Alliot out of 21st on lap 7 with falling fuel pressure. Winkelhock slogs around with boost problems and dodgy gear selection, but at least finishes for the first time in 1985 - 12th, three laps down.

Lotus 97T-Renault
11. Elio de Angelis (It)
12. Ayrton Senna (Brz)

Senna qualifies 2nd, with de Angelis back in 7th. Senna retains 2nd until being passed by Piquet on lap 7. Pits three laps later, stuck in 3rd gear. Long stop drops him to last - charges to 16th, but engine blows, oiling rear wheels and spinning him off. Struggling with a flat engine, unhappy de Angelis makes up places as others fall back to reach 3rd briefly, but loses out to Rosberg and then Johansson (on the last lap) to finish 5th.

Renault RE60B-Renault
15. Patrick Tambay (Fr)
Renault RE60-Renault
16. Derek Warwick (GB)

Tambay given first lighter much-revised RE60B and qualifies 9th, only one place ahead of Warwick, amid intensive speculation company will be withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of the year. Warwick holds 6th laps 11-15 but drops back and stops for tyres. Tambay takes over 6th when Surer pits, and takes final point, one place ahead of recovering Warwick.

Arrows A8-BMW
17. Gerhard Berger (Aut)
18. Thierry Boutsen (Bel)

Berger qualifies superbly in 8th despite suspension failure on Mistral, with Boutsen 11th. Berger runs too-soft tyres and drops back to 10th before being taken out while lapping Martini. Boutsen runs consistently to finish in 8th place.

Toleman TG185-Hart
19. Teo Fabi (It)

Engine trouble restricts Fabi to 18th on the grid, despite new smaller rear wing increasing straight-line speed of TG185. Races well to reach 9th place, only for car to run out of fuel four laps from the end - classified 14th.

Alfa Romeo 185T-Alfa Romeo
22. Riccardo Patrese (It)
23. Eddie Cheever (USA)

Both drivers suffer spate of turbo failures during practice, leaving Patrese 16th on the grid, one place ahead of disgruntled Cheever. Alfa V8 too down on power on the straight to allow either to challenge, and - after each stopping for tyres - they finish lapped 10th (Cheever) and 11th (Patrese). Double-finish is at least some progress for team who - like Renault - are the subject of rumours of withdrawal.

Osella FA1G-Alfa Romeo
24. Piercarlo Ghinzani (It)

Underdeveloped FA1G and troublesome Alfa Romeo engine bad combination for impoverished team. Ghinzani qualifies 23rd ahead of only Martini and Bellof, and tours around in last place hoping to finish. Does so, but in 15th and last, four laps down.

Ligier JS25-Renault
25. Andrea de Cesaris (It)
26. Jacques Laffite (Fr)

Team desperate to impress at crucial home race - despite increasing boost to Renault engines, de Cesaris only 12th on the grid and Laffite 14th. Laffite retires on lap 3 when turbo predictably blows; de Cesaris briefly 8th on tail of leading group after fine start, only for driveshaft to shear on lap 5. Disastrous for French team.

Ferrari 156/85-Ferrari
27. Michele Alboreto (It)
28. Stefan Johansson (Swe)

Alboreto qualifies strong 3rd, but Johansson is only 15th after being plagued by understeer. Alboreto holds 4th laps 1-4 before a turbocharger fails. Johansson drives well in ill-handling car to reach the points by lap 37. Passes Surer to 5th and then de Angelis on the last lap to finish worthy full-distance 4th.

Minardi M185-Motori Moderni
29. Pierluigi Martini (It)

Abysmal weekend for Martini. Motori Moderni engine doesn't run cleanly in practice, leaving him only 24th on the grid, just five hundedths of a second ahead of Bellof's Tyrrell-Cosworth. Runs last for most of the race, nearly eliminating Lauda and then Tambay while being lapped, before sideswiping Berger and taking both of them out of the race.

Zakspeed 841-Zakspeed
30. Jonathan Palmer (GB)

Team returns to series, but suffers endless engine problems in qualifying. Palmer starts disappointed 21st, despite the presence of a spare car for the first time. Reaches 18th in the race before engine blows entirely.