Grand Prix Classic




Round 12 - Italian Grand Prix
Monza, 6-8 September, 1985

Once again the paddock at Monza was full of speculation and news, but much of this was overshadowed by the death of Stefan Bellof driving a Brun Porsche 956 at the Spa 1000kms the previous weekend. Coming so soon after the loss of Manfred Winkelhock, the friendly, talented German was another shocking loss to the Grand Prix scene.

As well as confirmation of Piquet's move to Williams, the other news was Renault's withdrawal of their factory team announced a day after the Dutch Grand Prix - though the French manufacturer would honour their 1986 engine contracts with Lotus, Ligier and Tyrrell. On the track, Ferrari were under huge pressure from their home crowd to reverse the run of poor form which had seen Michele Alboreto overhauled by Alain Prost - though McLaren were beginning to look ominously consistent.


Entry Notes

Ken Tyrrell only entered Martin Brundle as a sign of respect for the late Bellof who he believed had been the most naturally talented driver under his wing since Jackie Stewart. Also absent was Jonathan Palmer, who had been injured practising for the Spa 1000kms in the Canon Porsche - unable to find a replacement in time, Zakspeed skipped the race. Elsewhere, former Renault test driver Philippe Streiff was called up from the AGS Formula 3000 team to replace the sacked Andrea de Cesaris at Ligier.

All of which overshadowed the arrival of Carl Haas' Beatrice Lola team and Alan Jones, with their new Hart-powered car. The entry was very much a water-testing exercise, with a new car powered by Ford's new V6 turbo engine due in 1986.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

Practice remained bright and sunny for both days, a change from recent races which allowed everyone plenty of time to try and sort their cars, even if mechanical problems intervened for some. Williams seemed set to lock out the front row of the grid until Senna (in his first time at Monza, having been suspended by Toleman in 1984) pulled out a superb lap to bump Rosberg back to 2nd and Mansell to 3rd - it was the Brazilian's first pole since Detroit, despite running wide at the second Lesmo chicane on his fastest lap. Piquet's Brabham, which recorded the best speed (207mph) through the speed trap, was 4th.

Prost was a confident 5th, with de Angelis between him and title rival Alboreto in 7th. Tambay, Surer and Johansson completed the rest of the top 10 on the grid, while 1984 winner Lauda was back in 16th place.

Of the returnees to the series, Streiff was 19th, a place ahead of team-mate Laffite, while Alan Jones was only 25th after numerous Hart engine problems in the Beatrice Lola cars. As there were only 26 entrants, all would start the race.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The annual charge down to the first chicane was just about won by Rosberg despite Senna sticking wheels in the sand at both apexes, a manoeuvre which at least kept Mansell behind. Prost was up to 4th behind, ahead of de Angelis, Alboreto, Piquet, Tambay, Johansson and Warwick. Mansell wasn't denied for long, blasting past Senna before the second chicane, while the luckless Ghinzani was left on the grid, his Hart engine refusing to fire up.

Both Williams cars then began to pull away, while Senna was being caught by Prost and de Angelis - the McLaren dragging past on the third lap, with his team-mate soon relegating the Brazilian further. A lap later Prost was second as Mansell toured around to the pits with a misfire, very impressively solved in seconds by the fitting of a new boost control unit.

This left Alboreto and Piquet battling over 5th position, and in an impressive show of BMW power he was able to take the place along the main straight without having to worry about out-braking the Ferrari at the first chicane. Behind, Lauda had already moved into 7th after his poor qualifying and start, flashing out of Tambay's slip-stream before the Ascari curve. Within a few laps he was past Alboreto too. Already there were numerous retirements - Martini on the opening lap in addition to Ghinzani; Acheson was out; Patrese joined him on the 4th lap; Jones' debut for Carl Haas lasted just six laps, Warwick and Alliot both dropped out with drive problems.

Piquet, unhappy with his tyres, stopped for a fresh set on lap 12, leaving Lauda to attack Senna. Rosberg was by then 10 seconds clear, keeping the hammer down and hoping the Honda engine would last this time. Mansell was keeping pace with the Finn impressively, albeit a lap down and in 16th place. Prost was going well in 3rd, comfortably ahead of de Angelis. The Italian had Lauda bearing down on him, the McLaren having taken Senna, and soon going into 4th after simply driving past the leading Lotus on the inside of Parabolica. However, his progress was checked when the car's nosecone was damaged on a kerb, but the quick-thinking decision by McLaren to replace his tyres at the same time as replacing it meant it didn't cost Lauda much time - only around 12 seconds more than the tyre change would have done anyway. It was all for nothing, however, as his engine blew only a few laps after resuming.

Rosberg and Alboreto both stopped for tyres around this point, allowing Prost into the lead. Senna was 3rd, unable to really charge on his hard compound Goodyears and being caught rapidly by Piquet. In fifth was Johansson, but the Swede was still to pit, handing the position over to Surer, and Alboreto was in 7th. Rosberg promptly annihilated the 17-second gap between himself and Prost, and retook the lead on lap 40. However, six laps later the Finn faced disappointment again - a water leak in the Honda V6 sending him trickling into the pits and out of the race.

This left Prost to run unchallenged to the flag, finishing with a lead of more than 50 seconds over Piquet. Senna was an unhappy 3rd, having made the wrong tyre choice, while Surer scored his best result yet for Brabham, having just failed to displace the Brazilian in the closing stages. Alboreto had stopped from 5th with a blown engine, five laps from the end, leaving his title aspirations teetering on the brink.

This left Johansson to take the placing, despite running out of fuel on the last lap and having to hitch a lift home with 6th-placed de Angelis. The second Lotus had been going easy due to the fuel consumption read-out, and de Angelis was unamused to find twenty litres still in the tank at the end. Spare a thought also for Nigel Mansell, who charged and set fastest lap after his early delay, retiring from 10th place with a broken engine in the closing stages. Without their engine problems, Williams would have won the race easily on pace, but once again Prost and McLaren's preparation and reliability took the spoils.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
51
1h 17m 59.451s
5
2
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
51
+ 51.636s
4
3
Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault
51
+ 1m 00.390s
1
4
Marc Surer Brabham-BMW
51
+ 1m 00.609s
9
5
Stefan Johansson Ferrari
50
+ 1 lap/Out of fuel
10
6
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
50
+ 1 lap
6
7
Patrick Tambay Renault
50
+ 1 lap
8
8
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Renault
50
+ 1 lap
18
9
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW
50
+ 1 lap
14
10
Philippe Streiff Ligier-Renault
49
+ 2 laps
19
11
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda
47
+ 4 laps/Engine
3
12
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
47
+ 4 laps
15
13
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
45
+ 6 laps/Engine
7
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
44
Engine
2
R
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault
40
Engine
20
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
33
Transmission
16
R
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
31
Exhaust
13
R
Huub Rothengatter Osella-Alfa Romeo
26
Engine
22
R
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart
19
Turbo
26
R
Gerhard Berger Arrows-BMW
13
Engine
11
R
Derek Warwick Renault
9
Transmission
12
R
Alan Jones Beatrice Lola-Hart
6
Distributor
25
R
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
3
Engine
17
R
Kenny Acheson RAM-Hart
2
Clutch
24
R
Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Motori Moderni
0
Fuel pump
23
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Toleman-Hart
0
Stalled
21

Fastest Lap: Nigel Mansell (Williams), 1:28.283s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
65
2
Michele Alboreto
53
3
Elio de Angelis
31
4
Ayrton Senna
23
5
Stefan Johansson
22
6
Nelson Piquet
19
7
Keke Rosberg
18
8
Niki Lauda
14
9
Patrick Tambay
11
10
Jacques Laffite
10
11
Thierry Boutsen
9
12
Nigel Mansell
7
13
Marc Surer
5
14
Stefan Bellof
4
=
Derek Warwick
4
16
Andrea de Cesaris
3
=
Rene Arnoux
3

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
McLaren
79
2
Ferrari
77
3
Lotus
54
4
Williams
25
5
Brabham
24
6
Renault
15
7
Ligier
13
8
Arrows
9
9
Tyrrell
4