The 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the XIV Grande Prêmio do Brasil, was the opening round of the 1985 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Jacarepaguá Circuit in Brazil on the 7 April 1985. The race would see Alain Prost open the season with victory for McLaren-TAG Porsche, after a winter of high intrigue and mechanical change.
It was Prost's teammate Niki Lauda who would start the season as the defending World Champion, the pair having concluded the 1984 Championship just half a point apart. Their employers McLaren-TAG Porsche would also open the 1985 campaign as the reigning Constructors' Championship Champions, and were considered favourites after their dominance the previous season.
There was a surprise in store during qualifying, however, as Ferrari's Michele Alboreto swept to pole, beating Keke Rosberg in his Williams-Honda. Indeed, an unusually poor quali performance from Prost left the Frenchman down in sixth, while teammate Lauda would open his title defence in a lowly ninth.
At the start it was Rosberg who romped into the lead off the grid, while Alboreto was left to fend off new Williams employee Nigel Mansell into the first corner. Unfortunately for Mansell his optimistic move around the outside of the Ferrari would not pay off, resulting in the Brit getting bounced into the catch fencing and out of the race.
Alboreto, meanwhile, would carry on with steering damage, but was miraculously able to hang onto second for Prost and Ayrton Senna were squabbling behind. The Italian subsequently inherited the lead when Rosberg's turbocharger failed spectacularly on lap eleven, although soon came under-pressure from Prost when the Frenchman managed to break clear of Senna's Lotus-Renault.
Come the end of the nineteenth lap Prost was through into the lead, although he was unable to pull clear of the Italian. Furthermore, the two would be stalked by both the Loti of Senna and Elio de Angelis until the closing stages, while Lauda briefly ran in fourth before an electrical failure ended his charge.
Ultimately, however, there was to be no major change to the order once Senna retired with thirteen laps to go, with Prost able to sweep across the line three seconds clear of Alboreto. de Angelis would claim third after his teammate's demise, while René Arnoux, Patrick Tambay and Jacques Laffite claimed the remaining points.
In terms of driver changes the race would see the debuts of Nigel Mansell with Williams, beginning his infamous relationship with #5, as well as Senna's first race with Team Lotus. Arnoux, meanwhile, would make his last appearance for Ferrari, the result of a political fallout after the race, while Jacques Laffite returned to Ligier-Renault, the team with whom he had made his name back in 1976.
The full entry list for the 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix is outlined below:
- * Bellof would not attend the race after a fallout between himself and Tyrrell. Johansson therefore took his seat.
- † Both Tolemans were withdrawn during the race weekend after they failed to secure a tyre supply for the opening round.
The full qualifying results for the 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||1:28.081||—||+0.313s|
|6||2||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:30.253||1:29.117||+1.349s|
|9||1||Niki Lauda||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:30.716||1:29.984||+2.216s|
|13||25||Andrea de Cesaris||Ligier-Renault||1:37.803||1:31.411||+3.643s|
|14||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||1:32.107||1:31.790||+4.022s|
|18||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||1:33.094||1:33.091||+5.323s|
|21||3||Martin Brundle||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:36.225||1:36.152||+8.384s|
|22||24||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:38.272||1:36.743||+8.975s|
|23||4||Stefan Johansson||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:37.799||1:37.293||+9.525s|
|25||29||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:44.046||—||+16.278s|
|WD*||4||Stefan Bellof||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
- 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.
- * Bellof's entry was withdrawn after an argument with Tyrrell.
- † Both Toleman entries were withdrawn due to a lack of tyre supply.
|4||Elio de Angelis|
|14||Andrea de Cesaris|
The heated temperatures at Jacarepagua would mean that driver's would have to be cautious in conserving their tyres, otherwise they would be forced to come into the pits. Jackie Stewart noted "I think we are going to see pit-stops. Each team I think, with the possible exception of the Tyrrell team are planning to come in for tyre changes."
The Williams cars both make excellent starts, Rosberg immediately sprints into the lead, whilst Mansell immediately jumps past Senna, De Angelis and Alboreto. Approaching the corner, Mansell is forced wide by Alboreto and spins into the gravel. With the assistance of the marshalls he receives a push-start and restarts, however he would return at the back of the field and with a damaged exhaust. Boutsen meanwhile had failed to get off the line and had to be push-started by the marshalls.
Rosberg immediately sprinted away, whilst Alboreto in second place was expected by Jackie Stewart "to drive a very cautious race, I predict." Prost, Senna, De Angelis, Arnoux, Piquet, Lauda, Patrese and De Cesaris remain in close proximity to Alboreto's Ferrari. Rosberg was looking extremely confident in his car, a stark contrast to the previous day. John Bisignano noted "remember when Keke Rosberg was qualifying, his clutch was actually slipping. And he felt he could have gone a little bit faster and is proving tremendous race speed here. Of the cars are set-up quite differently between qualifying and the race. Keke certainly seems to have the right combination when it comes to race set-up."
Rosberg had already opened up a two second lead to Alboreto at the end of the first lap. However there were questions over the longevity of his performance to which Stewart noted "see how he is sliding that car John. I would suggest that he is risking quite a lot by getting those tyre temperatures up that hot at this stage." John Bisignano commented, "he is certainly taking a risk on his race philosophy. But if you are planning on making a pit-stop, its always nice to have a good lead. He's going to have to hold until at least third distance or longer before coming in."
Especially worrying for Rosberg was that Alboreto had began to break away from the cars behind him and was maintaining the two second distance to the leader. Bisignano commented "He doesn't seem to be using his car quite as much. He's not sliding his car, he looks in good shape. Keke is really going to have to slow down here in the near future to be able to save his rubber."
On the third lap, Piquet whom was leading the Pirelli shod runners in seventh place had a severe blip in his gearbox which forced him wide and ran over a heavy kerb. Piquet spins, he keeps the car out of the barriers, however his front suspension is wrecked from his run over the kerb. Bisignano commenting, "With Nelson gone, that is half of their hero list out very early here." The Brazilian crowd's last hope was therefore Senna's Lotus who was running in fourth position.
The following lap, De Cesaris advances the field by overtaking Patrese for eighth position. Rosberg continued to lead, however was described by Stewart as "oversteering" through the corners. This had allowed Alboreto to close whom on the fifth lap set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:38.169. Alboreto then attempts an overtake in the Curva do Sol, however Rosberg refuses to give way and maintains the lead of the race.
Baldi became the first car to peel into the pits, however he is identified to have an engine problem and required a check-up from his Spirit mechanics. On the eighth lap, Baldi returns to the pits with a troubled engine. Now effectively out of the race, Baldi's team decide to completely replace his Hart turbo rather than retire. The operation will take nearly an hour, however his team return him to the track in order to use the remainder of the race as a test for their new car.
In the lead, Alboreto continued to hound Rosberg to which Bisignano noted "Coming out of the corners, Keke is having some trouble putting the power down to the ground. I think that is where Michele is making up, coming out of the corners." Stewart, however was quick to note "he has softer rubber on the inside, the left side than he does on the right side." Alboreto, however was not without his own problems. His collision with Mansell at the start of the race had put his front axle askew and was causing understeer on his car. Nonetheless, he remained capable of matching Rosberg's pace. However whilst this duo battled, Prost continued to be ever present in the background of the race. Jackie Stewart noted "If I were driving this race, I would be very happy to be in the position of Alain Prost right now."
Alboreto began to reduce his attack and fall back into the clutches of Prost. A little bit behind them was the two Lotus cars of Senna and De Angelis whom racing on the harder tyres continued to be an outside threat for the race. Meanwhile at the back, Mansell had been struggling to recover after his first lap spin. His exhaust problem continued to deteoriate and brought his car into the pits to retire.
Worse was to come, the following lap Williams would also lose Rosberg whom had a big Honda engine failure in the middle of the circuit. Rosberg limped back to the pits, fire spitting from his engine. Within two laps, both Williams cars had suffered an engine failure. The McLaren's were now left in a very good position, Prost was left on the tail of the lead whilst Lauda had advanced past Arnoux and De Angelis and into fifth position. Stewart noting "If he wins three more grand prix, he ties with my record of 27 grand prix victories which is more than anybody else in grand prix motor racing but I'm sure Niki is going to do it. Its just a question of time."
Further down the field, Cheever and Hesnault made contact. Hesnault was pitched off the circuit, stalled his car and retired from the race. Both Williams and Brabham cars were now out of the race to which Bisignano would comment "in the opening round here, we've seen quite a few retirements from technically strong teams."
As Prost continued to tail Alboreto, it was becoming clear that the Ferrari was coming under pressure. As the leaders swept by Martini's Minardi, the first of the back markers Stewart noted "Alboreto does seem to be driving more aggressively tyre wise than Prost." Bisignano further commentinng "Alain Prost is doing what he does best. Conserving every part of his machine to strike at the perfect moment."
At this, Stewart noted "I have in fact chosen Alain Prost to win the world championship in 1985, just because he has the perfect combination of team, tyres, engine, mechanics, of course last but not least, driver talent. I think he will win the championship and Alboreto will give him a very serious push."
However, the reigning champion of Lauda could not be discounted, he put in a brave move down the inside of Senna's Lotus to take third position, putting him in a position to chase after the leaders of Alboreto and Prost. Lauda was now the fastest car on the circuit, setting a new fastest lap with a 1:38.098. He remained 7.8 seconds off Alboreto's lead.
Although Tyrrell had claimed to plan to go the full distance of the race without a pit-stop, they would in fact become the first team to make a tyre stop when Brundle entered the pits on the thirteenth lap. At the front of the race, Alboreto continued to fend off Prost, however Stewart noted "Alboreto is slipping a little bit more than Alain Prost."
As Lauda continued to advance on the lead of the race, the two Lotus cars of Senna and De Angelis had began to drop well back. The team had chosen too hard tyres to be able to mount an effective challenge. Further down the field, Warwick had encountered turbo trouble in his Renault and had entered the pits for a check-up.
Alboreto was coming under ever increasing pressure, after lapping Johansson and Alliot, Prost was nearly up the end of the Ferrari's gearbox. Coming out of the final corner, Alboreto misses a gear and Prost sweeps into the lead of the race down the pit straight. Thereafter Prost began to sprint into the lead of the race, the following lap he quickly scythed through the backmarkers of Winkelhock and Berger.
Further down the field in the battle for seventh, Patrese and Laffite collide forcing both cars to make a pit-stop to repair the damage. Also entering the pits to check his car is Cheever whom had earlier received damage from his collision with Hesnault. Laffite re-enters the track in sixteenth, however Patrese is forced to retire. A punctured tyre had ruined the wheel rim of his car.
Prost maintains calm control at the front of the race. He waits patiently behind the backmarker battle between Warwick and Boutsen briefly before calmly making his way past the duo. Stewart comments "That is what I like to see from a mature driver." Commenting on Senna whom was stuck down in fourth place, Stewart noted "I think Senna is one of the great drivers of the future. But I think it will be at least two years before we can expect anything from him."
The race looked set for a McLaren one-two, as Prost moved past the backmarker of Tambay, Lauda was all over the wheels of Alboreto in second place. However fate was to strike Lauda as suddenly he dramatically slowed. The turbo was suddenly failing to respond and he was forced to pull into the pits to retire.
This therefore put Senna into a podium position for his many Brazilian fans. However it was appearing a difficult day for Lotus, his teammate De Angelis whom was running fourth was forced into the pits for tyres despite running the hardest compound. He rejoined the track in sixth place, right behind the battling Arnoux and De Cesaris. The same lap, Boutsen pits for tyres whilst Martini is also in the pits to check a growing engine problem. Bisignano noting on Martini, "He is definately falling apart down there."
De Angelis's climb back to fourth was then aided when an over-ambitious move by De Cesaris on Arnoux meant the two collided. De Cesaris is out of the race, whilst Arnoux limps back to the pits with a deflated rear tyre. In description of the accident, Stewart noted "Arnoux suddenly slowed and De Cesaris wasn't paying attention."
With action further down the field, Bisignano questioned whether Prost would be "Psychologically effected" by having his teammate drop out of the race. Stewart responded by simply stating "Quite frankly, he would be just glad that one of his competitors has dropped out of the race." Prost continued his calm lead over the race to which he had extended the gap to Alboreto 17 seconds. He could be seen driving past the stricken Arnoux whom was attempting to limp back to the pits despite his delaminated rear left tyre. Seeing Arnoux's blown out tyre, Prost became concerned of a tyre failure and pulled into the pits at the end of the lap. Bisignano commented "McLaren are one of the most efficient in Formula One." It took only 10.7 seconds for Prost to return to the track compared to De Angelis's earlier recorded time of 17.9 seconds.
Reacting to Prost's pit-stop, Alboreto also entered the pits, the same lap as Prost. However he rejoined the track in third position, behind Senna. Also pitting that lap was Tambay whom rejoined behind Alliot and eventually the fateful Arnoux.
Arnoux rejoined the race in fourteenth position and had a lot of work to do to climb back into the points. Laffite, meanwhile whom had been hampered by his earlier accident with Patrese was making good progress up the field. With Arnoux pitting, he then passed Winkelhock and the two Tyrrell's of Johansson and Brundle to put himself back into points contention.
A lap after Alboreto, Senna made his pit-stop which put the Ferrari back into second position. Whilst Senna made his pit-stop, Bisignano noted "Every Brazilian is holding their breath." It was another long stop for the Lotus mechanics which took them 16.1 seconds to change all four wheels on Senna's car. The same lap as Senna, the Arrows of Berger made his pit-stop. Berger had climbed to as high as seventh before his pit-stop before falling back down to fourteennth.
The McLaren mechanics had repaired the problem on Lauda's car and although he was now effectively out of the race, he was told to get back in the car to complete the running of the race. Prost meanwhile was dominating the race, setting a new fastest lap of a 1:36.820. Bisignano commenting "Certainly one of the most professional drivers, not only in Formula One but in the world."
After lapping Johansson for the second time and leading 23 seconds ahead of Alboreto with a further 51 seconds on Senna, Bisignano noted "He's really alone now, noone pushing him from behind and noone to catch."
Alliot had done very well to raise his RAM up to fifth before he inevitably had to pit. This therefore put Tambay into fifth whilst Alliot exited the pits in sixth position. Laffite had made progress through the field, he had climbed past Boutsen whom was struggling with his engine and then overtook Alliot whom was struggling with his fifth gear. Also making storming progress through the field was Arnoux. Johansson became one of the last drivers to make a tyre change, allowing the Ferrari to advance. Boutsen likewise was falling down the field due to his engine trouble.
With the leader, Prost coming up to lap him for a second time, Arnoux overtook Brundle under blue flags whom opted to give way to both Arnoux and Prost behind him. Arnoux refused to allow Prost past for nearly an entire lap before Prost final overtake approaching the second corner. Stewart noting "Keep in mind, Arnoux is the teammate of Alboreto who is in second position." On the 39th lap, Arnoux overtakes Alliot to move back into the points and continues his rapid progress in chasing down Laffite ahead of him.
Lauda meanwhile who was trundling the circuit many laps down had decided to end an unproductive run and pulled into the pits to retire for good. Warwick meanwhile whom was struggling at the back of the field with turbo trouble had come into the pits for a second tyre stop. At this time, Baldi had returnned to track after 29 laps in the pits. He only completed four laps before he too gave up for good. Martini meanwhile who is trailing at the back comes in for yet another pit-stop.
Senna had been pushing desperately all afternoon, however he was failing to make ground on either Prost or Alboreto ahead of him. In the later stages he eased off the boost pressure in order to conserve his position, however he had worn down his engine's power output. Bisignano raised questions as to whether Prost and McLaren had "an unfair advantage." Stewart meanwhile responded by saying "Well its not an unfair advantage, Mansour Ojjeh put the money up to get the best engine, the best mechanics, the best drivers to make the best team."
Stewart would further comment on Prost's performance to which he stated, "He's driven conservatively, John, right the way through this race and never appears to be hurried. And that is the name of the game, that shows maturity and Prost in my opinion is just setting himself up for what should be a very good season."
Nonetheless, Stewart had commendations for Senna to which he noted "He is not fully recovered for the start of this race. Part of the paralysis is still there down the right hand side of his face.' All sorts of people thought he had a tumor of some kind. His stamina has been lacking and there was a serious threat as to whether he could continue his racing."
Arnoux had meanwhile overtaken Laffite whilst Cheever headed to the pits to retire with a broken engine. Senna's relentless driving would be all for naught, an electrical problem in his fuel pump had cut the engine and the Lotus driver trawled back to the pits. Senna remained sitting in his car as his mechanics worked to rectify the problem, however to the disappointment of the Brazilian fans it would prove terminal.
Prost meanwhile was dominating at the front of the field, he had lapped all the cars with the exception of Alboreto in second position. He would calmly navigate his way through the traffic, making sure to take his time in weaving through the train of cars that included Laffite, Alliot, Johansson and Brundle. Stewart noting, "Look how much space Prost is giving these other cars. Allowing himself not to be involved in any potential hazard that may involve these cars."
Arnoux meanwhile has taken Tambay for fourth position whilst shortly after being lapped by Prost, Johansson takes seventh place from Alliot. Alliot continues to suffer from a deteoriating gearbox and soon drops behind Brundle as well. Behind them, Berger in eleventh place has a suspension failure and retires from the race. His Arrows teammate, Boutsen, is also struggling with suspension troubles as well as his earlier engine problems.
In the final stages, Prost begins to conserve his car and drops off the pace. This allows Alboreto close and Prost's lead of 24.5 seconds on lap 40 consistently drops as Alboreto continues to maintain the pace. Prost is saving fuel and is under threat of not finishing the race if he does not lift off. Alboreto whittles down the gap to 15 seconds of lap 56 and then 10 seconds on lap 58.
Shortly before the end of the race, Martini suffers a blown engine and pulls into the pits. Alboreto reduces the race lead down to 3 seconds, however Prost takes the victory.
The full results for the 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- 250th race for Ford Cosworth as an engine manufacturer.
- 50th Grand Prix to feature BMW as an engine supplier.
- Minardi made their debut as a constructor.
- Martin Brundle entered his tenth Grand Prix.
- 250th entry for a car using #24 as its race number.
- Michele Alboreto recorded his second and final pole position.
- Alain Prost claimed his seventeenth career victory.
- McLaren earned their 43rd win as a constructor.
- Prost recorded the 100th fastest lap for a car using Shell lubricants.
For the second season in succession it was Alain Prost who opened the campaign with victory, leaving Brazil with a three point lead. Michele Alboreto was his closest challenger, with Elio de Angelis, René Arnoux, Patrick Tambay and Jacques Laffite the only other scorers.
It was a more interesting picture in the Constructors' Championship, with McLaren-TAG Porsche and Ferrari level on nine points after the opening round. In reality the Anglo-German effort was ahead courtesy of Prost's victory, although the Italian's squad's double score suggested that they would be a threat for the full season. Three other teams also registered points at the opening round, those being Lotus-Renault, Renault and Ligier-Renault.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Brazilian GP, 1985', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr405.html, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- 'Brazil 1985: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/bresil/engages.aspx, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- 'Brazilian Grand Prix 1985 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1985/races/482/brazil/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- 'Brazilian Grand Prix 1985 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1985/races/482/brazil/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- 'Brazil 1985: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/bresil/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- 'Brazil 1985: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/bresil/classement.aspx, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- '1. Brazil 1985', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1985/bresil.aspx, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- '1985 Brazilian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1985&gp=Brazilian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
|V T E||1985 Formula One Season|
|Teams||McLaren • Tyrrell • Williams • Brabham • RAM • Lotus • Renault • Arrows • Toleman • Spirit • Alfa Romeo • Osella • Ligier • Ferrari • Minardi • Zakspeed • Lola|
|Engines||Alfa Romeo • BMW • Ferrari • Ford • Hart • Honda • Motori Moderni • Renault • TAG • Zakspeed|
|Drivers||1 Lauda • 2 Prost • 3/4 Brundle • 4 Johansson • 3/4 Bellof • 4 Capelli • 4 Streiff • 5 Mansell • 6 Rosberg • 7 Piquet • 8 Hesnault • 8 Surer • 9 Winkelhock • 9/10 Alliot • 10 Acheson • 11 De Angelis • 12 Senna • 14 Hesnault • 15 Tambay • 16 Warwick • 17 Berger • 18 Boutsen • 19 Fabi • 20 Ghinzani • 21 Baldi • 22 Patrese • 23 Cheever • 24 Ghinzani • 24 Rothengatter • 25 De Cesaris • 25 Streiff • 26 Laffite • 27 Alboreto • 28 Arnoux • 28 Johansson • 29 Martini • 30 Palmer • 30 Danner • 33 Jones|
|Cars||McLaren MP4/2B • Ferrari 156/85 • Williams FW10 • Lotus 97T • Brabham BT54 • Ligier JS25 • Renault RE60 • Arrows A8 • Tyrrell 012 • Tyrrell 014 • Osella FA1F • Minardi M185 • Alfa Romeo 184TB • Alfa Romeo 185T • RAM 03 • Zakspeed 841 • Toleman TG185 • Spirit 101D • Lola THL1|
|Tyres||Goodyear • Pirelli|
|Races||Brazil • Portugal • San Marino • Monaco • Canada • Detroit • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • Belgium • Europe • South Africa • Australia|
|See also||1984 Formula One Season • 1986 Formula One Season • Category|
|V T E||Brazilian Grand Prix / São Paulo Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Interlagos (1972–1977, 1979–1980, 1990–present), Jacarepaguá (1978, 1981–1989)|
|Races (Brazilian GP)||1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 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 • 2020|
|Races (São Paulo GP)||2021|
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