Grand Prix Classic


Round 14 - European Grand Prix
Brands Hatch, 4-6 October, 1985
Team-by-Team Review


McLaren MP4/2B-TAG
1. John Watson (GB)
2. Alain Prost (Fr)

Lauda still out injured, so John Watson deputises (after abortive attempt to persuade Renault to release Derek Warwick from his contract early). He qualifies 21st, struggling to adapt to Goodyear qualifiers despite testing session at Donington. Prost starts 6th, but onto grass at the start and drops to 17th. Steadily advances to 6th by lap 9, but once informed of Alboreto's retirement drives remarkably reserved race, still fast enough to finish unlapped 4th and secure world championship. Watson struggles in lower midfield for much of the race before finding his groove, passing Patrese and Streiff in the closing stages to finish a lapped 7th. Team now 9 points clear of Ferrari in constructors' standings.



Tyrrell 014-Renault
3. Ivan Capelli (It)
4. Martin Brundle (GB)

Brundle qualifies well in 16th, while Ivan Capelli is given one-off drive in second car. Struggles at demanding Brands, but makes his debut from 24th on the grid. Porchester Group provide sponsorship for race only. Brundle runs 8th for much of the race, briefly passing Prost for 7th before a broken water pipe causes overheating and forces retirement from best-yet outing for Tyrrell-Renault. Capelli struggles with physical demands of race, and spins out of 16th (of 17 runners) and into tyre wall on lap 45.



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

Mansell qualifies strong 3rd, with Rosberg 4th. Rosberg charges to 2nd but spins on lap 7 trying to pass Senna, getting a puncture and almost being lapped. Then holds up Senna, allowing Mansell to pass. Mansell then drives a superb race to score his first Grand Prix victory by a comfortable margin despite taking the lead under a yellow flag. Rosberg shows tremendous pace to make up much of the time he lost and finishes an excellent 3rd.



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

Piquet qualifies strong 2nd, with Surer 7th as circuit suits chassis and tyres. Piquet close 3rd for first seven laps before blamelessly hitting Rosberg, stalling his car. Furious as he strongly believed he would have won. Surer has best race of career to date, passing Johansson, de Angelis and Senna to sit strong 2nd. Sadly, spectacular turbo fire 13 laps from the end deprives him of first-ever rostrum appearance.



RAM 03-Hart
9. Philippe Alliot (Fr)

Team still running only a single car for financial reasons. Alliot qualifies 23rd. Advances to 17th until engine fails on lap 32. With announced loss of major sponsor Skoal Bandit, team announces it will be skipping the South African and Australian Grand Prix in order to reorganise and find new funding to compete in 1986.



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

Senna takes superb pole, with de Angelis back in 9th. Senna leads first seven laps until held up by Rosberg and passed by Mansell. Unable to fend off Surer and Laffite, but regains 2nd when they retire, scoring fifth successive rostrum finish. After reaching 4th on lap 8, de Angelis also slips back and eventually finishes low-key 5th. Team now just 6 points behind Ferrari in constructors' cup.



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

RE60B's handling problems exacerbated at Brands. Warwick, having spent race build-up testing for Lotus and aggrieved at team's refusal to release him to McLaren, does well to qualify 8th. Tambay, having secured a drive with Beatrice Lola in 1986, starts disgusted 17th. Warwick briefly up to 7th on lap 1, but forced into pits and eventually out of the race with a misfire. Tambay struggles around to disconsolate 12th place, three laps down. Season can't end soon enough for all concerned. Team announces it will be missing the South African Grand Prix for political reason.



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

Chassis' handling limits Boutsen to 14th on the grid, with Berger 19th. Both drive dogged races, Boutsen fighting long battle with Streiff before taking 6th place five laps from the end. Berger also perseveres to take 10th.



Toleman TG185-Hart
19. Teo Fabi (It)
20. Piercarlo Ghinzani (It)

Fabi crashes race car on Friday morning and spare on Saturday afternoon, leaving him 20th on the grid - five places behind Ghinzani. Ghinzani out of 14th on lap 17 with engine failure; Fabi's Hart does likewise on lap 32 when 15th.



Alfa Romeo 184TB-Alfa Romeo
22. Riccardo Patrese (It)
23. Eddie Cheever (USA)

Patrese qualifies respectably in 11th at circuit he loves, with Cheever 18th. Both then do what they can with ill-handling car, Patrese reaching 8th in the closing stages. Unable to hold off Watson and has to settle for 9th. Cheever charges to 10th early on, but after a tyre stop finishes 11th, one lap down.



Osella FA1G-Alfa Romeo
24. Huub Rothengatter (Hol)

Unable to get to grips with mix of circuit and Pirelli tyres, Rothengatter struggles, spinning on the Brabham Straight on his final set of qualifiers, and ends up 1.8 seconds away from making the grid.



Ligier JS25-Renault
25. Philippe Streiff (Fr)
26. Jacques Laffite (Fr)

Streiff stuns the paddock by qualifying a superb 5th, with Laffite 10th. Laffite takes a few laps to play himself in, but then pulls out a vintage display, culminating in passing Senna at Hawthorn Bend for 3rd on lap 36. Pit on lap 52 for fresh tyres, and charges, setting fastest lap, only for engine to fail on lap 59 when 7th. Streiff drives more circumspect race, and does not stop for tyres. However, with fading grip unable to fight off Boutsen and Watson in the closing stages, finishing in 8th. Scant reward for competitive weekend, but under pressure from French government, team will be skipping the South African Grand Prix.



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

Wretched second half of the season continues, with Johansson 13th on the grid and Alboreto miserable 15th. Brief ray of light when both move up in early stages, but Alboreto pits from 7th on lap 11 hoping tyres will help handling problems. Retires two laps later with huge turbo fire, handing title to Prost. Johansson up to 4th by lap 8. Unable to hold off Surer and Laffite, but returns to 6th on lap 43. However, electrical failure ends race on lap 60.



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

Martini once again struggles with poor car, poor engine and inexperience with track, qualifying 26th, 8 seconds off pole. Lasts three laps before spinning off into tyre wall and ending his race from 25th place.



Zakspeed 841-Zakspeed
30. Christian Danner (Ger)

Danner, now crowned as inaugural Formula 3000 champion, suffers numerous engine problems in qualifying and starts 25th. Runs at the tail of field until retiring from 16th and last on lap 51 with another engine failure.



Beatrice-Lola THL-1-Hart
33. Alan Jones (Aus)

Still with engine troubles and difficulty getting used to qualifying tyres, Jones (winner of 1980 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch) starts 22nd. Races well to reach 13th by lap 10 before radiator is holed by debris, causing retirement on lap 13.