The 1985 Australian Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the L Mitsubishi Australian Grand Prix, was the sixteenth and final round of the 1985 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the Adelaide Street Circuit on the 3 November 1985. The race, which was the first World Championship race to be held in Australia, would see McLaren-TAG Porsche claim the Constructors Championship as Keke Rosberg swept to victory for Williams-Honda.
The majority of the class of '95 would make the trip to Australia, excluding those who lacked the budget to make a trip halfway around the globe. Furthermore, the new Adelaide circuit was deemed universally popular in-spite of its status as a street circuit, for it was relatively smooth, wide and featured some challenging corners.
Qualifying would see Ayrton Senna round out the season with pole position ahead of Nigel Mansell, while Keke Rosberg shared the second row with new World Champion Alain Prost. Michele Alboreto and Marc Surer shared the third row, while out-going Champion Niki Lauda would start his final Grand Prix from sixteenth on the grid.
It was Mansell who made the best start off the grid, with the Brit scything ahead of Senna to claim the lead into the first corner. However, a collision between the two on the opening lap would leave Mansell with heavy damage, leaving the Brit to limp around to the pits and retire, while Rosberg sneaked into the lead ahead of the Brazilian.
The early stages saw a lot of chopping and changing at the head of the field, with some drivers having to stop early to replace their optimistically soft tyres. Indeed, an early stop for Alboreto would put Prost up into third with Marc Surer fourth, while Nelson Piquet ran in fifth for a short while before he suffered his customary engine failure.
Surer would ultimately cause a stir by passing Prost with ease as the race entered its mid-race phase, although a small slide from the Swiss racer allowed the Frenchman to sneak back ahead. Out front, meanwhile, Rosberg and Senna would squabble for the lead through to half-distance, with the Finn beginning to struggle with his tyres.
Indeed, Rosberg would make a snap decision to pit during their fight, with his sudden dart towards the pitlane catching Senna by surprise. The Lotus-Renault duly smacked into the back of the Williams, smashing its front wing, although the petulant Brazilian would carry on for two laps before putting for repairs.
Rosberg was left with a commanding lead at the head of the field, and even had enough time in hand to stop for a second time late in the race. He would ultimately win the race at a canter, as a series of retirements behind him caused chaos in the closing stages.
Indeed, Lauda would briefly run in second before being passed by Senna, before both were eliminated by mechanical failures. Alboreto was next in line to claim second but fell to a gearbox issue, meaning Jacques Laffite inherited the position having decided it was not worth trying to catch his former teammate. As a result he would be hit in the back by his current teammate Philippe Streiff on the penultimate lap, a collision that ripped the front right wheel from Streiff's Ligier-Renault.
Miraculously Streiff would nurse his car around the final lap on three wheels, and, with Ivan Capelli a lap down, managed to claim third behind his teammate. Capelli, meanwhile, would claim fourth ahead of Stefan Johansson, while Gerhard Berger rounded out his debut F1 campaign in sixth.
With Alain Prost already declared as Champion, and Michele Alboreto set to finish second, the interest in the Championship heading into the final round would be on the battle for third. Indeed, four drivers could mathematically take the final end-of-season podium spot, although Ayrton Senna was in the best position on 38 points. Five points separated him from teammate Elio de Angelis, while Nigel Mansell and Keke Rosberg were two further back, level on 31.
In the Constructors' Championship, however, it was still all to play for, although with a ten point lead it looked to be McLaren-TAG Porsche's title to lose. Indeed, the Anglo-German squad would need to score five points in Australia to retain their crown, with Ferrari the only team that could deny them. Yet, the Italian team would require a double podium in Oceania just to draw level with their rivals, with a one-two the only realistic chance for them to claim the crown.
The full entry list for the 1985 Australian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1985 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|4||2||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:23.943||1:21.889||+2.056s|
|10||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||1:24.543||1:23.077||+3.244s|
|13||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||1:23.597||1:24.295||+3.764s|
|14||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||1:23.758||1:24.128||+3.925s|
|16||1||Niki Lauda||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:24.691||1:23.941||+4.108s|
|23||29||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:27.196||1:27.402||+7.363s|
|25||24||Huub Rothengatter||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:30.319||—||+10.486s|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|______________||Elio de Angelis|
"Senna really has dominated practice and expects to go away from most people, however Prost as usual didn't qualify terribly well but his car was very good this morning in race trim" - James Hunt. BBC.
"This race is likely to be decided in the last 20 laps, the big problem area here is brakes". - Murray Walker. BBC.
Nigel Mansell snatched the lead into the first corner with Ayrton Senna, Keke Rosberg, Michele Alboreto, Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Marc Surer, Patrick Tambay, Elio de Angelis, Nelson Piquet, Eddie Cheever and Thierry Boutsen following. It was a less successful start for the local hero, Alan Jones, who stalled his engine as he attempted to leave the starting blocks. The marshals were on hand to give him a push start, however he was left trailing behind the rest of the pack.
Entering the Wakefield corner, Senna made a lunge to reclaim the lead, succeeding only in pushing Mansell into the gravel and losing position to the second Williams of Rosberg who reclaimed the lead. Mansell rejoined the track in eighth position, however he quickly began to drop further down the field as it was evident he had suffered damage to his car. At the end of the first lap Mansell headed for the pits. The Williams mechanics attempted to repair Mansell's car, however after two laps in the pits he would be forced to exit the car and retire. He had quite simply "blown it" as noted by Murray Walker. His chance to complete a hat trick of wins at the end of the season were run.
"Senna will be very anxious to get past Rosberg as soon as possible, but the Williams-Honda is very quick in a straight line which is probably why Senna was keen to get the jump on Mansell on the first lap. " noted James Hunt. The two leaders of Rosberg and Senna had begun to pull away, leaving Alboreto behind to defend against Prost's McLaren. James Hunt advised to "watch out for Prost, later in the race". Alboreto notably was creating "a bit of a traffic jam" observed Murray Walker as Prost, Berger, Surer and Tambay remained in close proximity to the Ferrari.
Brundle in the Tyrrell then began to drastically slow along the pit straight. He lost a full lap to the leaders before pitting for repairs. James Hunt noting what had been "a pretty unhappy weekend for the Ken Tyrrell team". Senna remained right on the rear of Rosberg's Williams, however as was described by James Hunt, "Senna's problem is that his superiority over Rosberg seems to be on the wrong parts of the circuit. Its going out where they go out onto the faster parts of the circuit, that opportunities to overtake present themselves. He can't pass on the twisty bit unless he can force Rosberg into a mistake. And Keke is pretty experienced, he doesn't have to push at this point".
Rosberg continued to drive conservatively, Murray Walker noting "brakes are going to be the problem. The Williams team are very worried about their ability to finish. This is undoubtedly the toughest course in grand prix racing on brakes". However Walker would further note that "Senna is using carbon fibre brakes that are unlikely to last as long as the steel brakes that Keke Rosberg is using".
Martini made what was described as a "traditional" move from him as he spun his Minardi into the gravel at turn 3. With assistance from the marshalls, Martini was luckily able to be pushed out of the sand trap. There was further controversy added to the race when James Hunt alerted viewers that "there is some discussion as to whether Elio de Angelis departed the grid from exactly the right position. There may be some sort of penalty for De Angelis if he got off from the wrong position".
The full results for the 1985 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||26||Jacques Laffite||Ligier-Renault||82||+ 43.130s||20||6|
|3||25||Philippe Streiff||Ligier-Renault||82||+ 1:28.536||18||4|
|4||4||Ivan Capelli||Tyrrell-Renault||81||+ 1 Lap||22||3|
|5||28||Stefan Johansson||Ferrari||81||+ 1 Lap||15||2|
|6||17||Gerhard Berger||Arrows-BMW||81||+ 1 Lap||7||1|
|7||24||Huub Rothengatter||Osella-Alfa Romeo||78||+ 4 Laps||25|
|8||29||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||78||+ 4 Laps||23|
|Ret||1||Niki Lauda||McLaren-TAG Porsche||57||Brakes||16|
|NC*||3||Martin Brundle||Tyrrell-Renault||49||+ 33 Laps||17|
|Ret||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||42||Exhaust||14|
|Ret||18||Thierry Boutsen||Arrows-BMW||37||Oil Leak||11|
|Ret||2||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG Porsche||26||Engine||4|
|DSQ†||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||18||Disqualified||10|
|Ret||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||5||Engine||13|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Brundle was unable to be classified as he failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
- † de Angelis was disqualified for starting from his grid slot after receiving a push-start on the formation lap.
- McLaren-TAG Porsche declared as the 1985 FIA Formula One World Championship Constructors Champions.
- This was McLaren's fourth Constructors' Championship and second successive title.
- TAG Porsche claimed their second successive title as an engine supplier.
- First Australian Grand Prix to be held as part of the World Championship.
- Niki Lauda made his 171st and final Grand Prix start.
- Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay made their 100th Grand Prix start.
- 75th entry for Michele Alboreto.
- Renault made their last appearance as a constructor until the 2002 Australian Grand Prix.
- Final race for Alfa Romeo as a registered constructor until the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.
- 57th and final race for Toleman as a constructor.
- Fifth and final victory for Keke Rosberg.
- Williams secured their 22nd victory as a constructor.
- Philippe Streiff claimed his first and only podium finish.
- Ligier claimed their 40th podium finish as a constructor.
With the chequered flag falling at the end of the Australian Grand Prix the 1985 FIA Formula One World Championship was brought to a close. Alain Prost was officially declared as Champion after the race, with a twenty point gap between himself and runner-up Michele Alboreto. Third, meanwhile, would go to race winner Keke Rosberg, who would edge out Ayrton Senna by two points with his end-of-season triumph.
The Constructors Championship, meanwhile, would be concluded in favour of the McLaren-TAG Porsche, although the Anglo-German alliance had not enjoyed the domination that they had had in 1984. Indeed, Ferrari were just eight points off come the end of the season, while Williams-Honda and Lotus-Renault were only nineteen off in third and fourth. Those two would end the season level on points with 71 apiece, but with the former ahead courtesy of their four wins to Lotus' three, while Brabham-BMW completed the top five.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 'Australian GP, 1985', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr420.html, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Australia 1985: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/australie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Australian Grand Prix 1985 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1985/races/497/australia/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Australian Grand Prix 1985 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1985/races/497/australia/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Australia 1985: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/australie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 'Australia 1985: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/australie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 '1985 Australian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1985&gp=Australian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 '16. Australia 1985', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/australie.aspx, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
|V T E||Australian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Adelaide Street Circuit (1985–1995) • Albert Park Circuit (1996–present)|
|Races||1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|