The 1986 Australian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the LI Foster's Australian Grand Prix, was the sixteenth and final round of the 1986 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Adelaide Street Circuit on the 26 October 1986. The race would see three drivers, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet, battle for the Championship crown, a fight which would end in dramatic fashion late on.
Championship leader Mansell had the advantage after qualifying, grabbing pole ahead of Williams-Honda teammate and rival Piquet. Ayrton Senna was in third ahead of Prost, with the rest of the field headed by René Arnoux in the Ligier-Renault.
Mansell duly led the field away at the start, knowing that a podium finish would be enough for him to take the title, no matter what Prost or Piquet achieved. However, the Brit would wisely leave room for Senna to charge through into the lead at the first corner, a barge that also allowed Piquet and Keke Rosberg to slip ahead.
Piquet would subsequently claim the lead later on the opening lap, knowing that he would only take the title if he won. Senna, meanwhile, was left to slip behind Rosberg, Mansell and Prost during the early stages, and was no-longer a factor in the fight for victory by the end of lap ten.
Piquet's lead would last until the seventh lap, with Rosberg barging past as Prost claimed third from Mansell. Piquet's hopes were then dashed by a spin, dumping him out of the points, while Prost's hopes of taking the crown were dashed by a puncture a few laps later.
Fortunately for Prost he only had to limp around a couple of corners, and hence rejoined in fourth behind Mansell and a charging Piquet. Indeed, on fresh rubber both Piquet and Prost would both manage to catch Mansell, although Piquet, having passed his teammate, would work alongside Mansell to keep the Frenchman behind.
Their tussle subsequently became one for the race win on lap 63, with a catastrophic failure on Rosberg's right rear tyre left the Finn stranded at the side of the circuit. Sensing this Piquet attempted to pull away from his teammate in a late bid for the title, just before Mansell's title charge was ended by a similar issue.
While travelling at over 180mph down the back straight Mansell's left-rear tyre would also fail, with bits of rubber flailing around as the Brit struggled to keep his car pointing in a straight line. Indeed, Mansell's quick reactions ensured that he did not have a spectacular accident, although the high speed failure had wrecked his suspension.
Williams reluctantly called Piquet in a couple of laps later on safety grounds, handing the lead to Prost. Piquet duly recorded a mesmerising set of laps in a desperate bid to catch the Frenchman, but ultimately fell fifteen seconds shy when the chequered flag fluttered.
Prost hence claimed victory and the World Championship, becoming the first man since Jack Brabham in 1960 to successfully defend his crown. Piquet, meanwhile, would end the season in third, a point behind teammate Mansell, as Williams-Honda were officially declared as the Constructors' Champions after their mutual efforts.
Nigel Mansell had remained at the head of the Championship after the Mexican Grand Prix, although his lead had been cut to six points. The Brit would, however, claim the crown if he finished third or higher in Australia, regardless of what Alain Prost or Nelson Piquet could do. Indeed, nothing short of a victory for either the Frenchman or the Brazilian would do in Oceania to overhaul Mansell's 70 point tally.
In the Constructors Championship, meanwhile, there had been very little movement in Mexico, with Williams-Honda already declared as Champions and McLaren-TAG Porsche confirmed in second. Indeed, Lotus-Renault had managed to secure third after the battle in Mexico, leaving the fight for fourth as the only significant issue heading into the finale. Ferrari held the advantage, four ahead of Ligier-Renault, although the Italian team's rather indifferent campaign meant that the French "garagistas" stood a fair chance of moving back ahead of the Scuderia at the final hurdle.
The full entry list for the 1986 Australian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1986 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|4||1||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:19.785||1:19.654||+1.251s|
|7||2||Keke Rosberg||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:21.295||1:20.778||+2.375s|
|11||23||Andrea de Cesaris||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:23.476||1:22.012||+3.609s|
|15||15||Alan Jones||Lola-Ford Cosworth||24:46.383||1:22.796||+4.393s|
|17||16||Patrick Tambay||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:24.584||1:23.008||+4.605s|
|18||24||Alessandro Nannini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:25.593||1:23.052||+4.649s|
|25||21||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||3:03.680||1:25.257||+6.855s|
|26||22||Allen Berg||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:28.912||1:27.208||+8.806s|
- 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.
|Andrea de Cesaris||12|
- * Berg would start the race from the pit lane after an issue on the formation lap.
The full results for the 1986 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Streiff was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † Tambay and Berg could not be classified as they failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
- Alain Prost declared as the 1986 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion.
- Alan Jones started his 116th and final Grand Prix.
- Patrick Tambay and Keke Rosberg made their 114th and final Grand Prix starts.
- Alfa Romeo entered their 200th race as an engine supplier.
- 25th career victory for Prost.
- 52nd win for McLaren as a constructor.
- Nelson Piquet set a new record for most fastest laps in a single season - 7.
- Alessandro Nannini, Andrea de Cesaris and Piercarlo Ghinzani ended the season with a record 14 retirements apiece in a single season.
Victory, combined with Nigel Mansell's failure to score ensured that Alain Prost was declared as the 1986 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion at the final round, beating the Brit by just two points. Indeed, Mansell's dramatic exit from the race had been a fitting end to his title hopes, with the Brit vowing to come back stronger in 1987. Third, meanwhile, would go to Nelson Piquet, a point behind his teammate, while Ayrton Senna and Stefan Johansson completed the end of season top five.
In the Constructors Championship, meanwhile, 1986 Champions Williams-Honda could finally claim their prize, ending the season on 141 points. McLaren-TAG Porsche would end their title defence in a distant second, 45 behind the Champions, while Lotus-Renault rounded out the year on 58 in third. Ferrari, meanwhile, completed a rather anonymous campaign in fourth ahead of Ligier-Renault, with ten constructors out of fifteen registering points.
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 'Australian GP, 1986', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr436.html, (Accessed 26/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Australia 1986: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/mexique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Foster's 1986 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1986/races/513/australia/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Foster's 1986 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1986/races/513/australia/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 22/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Australia 1986: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/australie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 'Australia 1986: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/australie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 '16. Australia 1986', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/australie.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 '1986 Australian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1986&gp=Australian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
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